Meet Nathan Chen, the Figure Skater Who Brought Athleticism to Artistry | NYT – Winter Olympics

Meet Nathan Chen, the Figure Skater Who Brought Athleticism to Artistry | NYT – Winter Olympics


“Five quads planned. He will be opening
with the quad flip. He’s going to do a
second quad flip here. Here’s a quad toe,
it looks like. Another one. Why not? Number five. Yes.” “I will have to literally
do my dream program, be super, super clean,
hit all of my quads. You just have to
set your mind right. You have to make sure that you
know what you’re attempting. And then you also need
to know how you’re going to do it perfectly.” “Nathan Chen’s body type
is ideal for quads. He’s very slim from head to toe. He’s got a great
bounce to his knee, and his hips are very closed. So he’s not overly
flexible simply because if you think
about aerodynamics, the sewing needle
is going to spin a lot faster than a pumpkin.” “When he burst onto the scene
to the masses just a couple of seasons ago, people
were really down on him for his artistry. And I always found his
carriage, his arm positioning, the way that he emotes and
presents to an audience, to be very balletic,
very classically trained.” “As I kind of
progressed into ballet, I started to understand
the concept of the art and how pretty and beautiful
all the movement is. And that definitely
correlates to figure skating in terms of where you
need to position your body, how are you going to
position lines, how you’re going to make yourself look
good, while making it sort of look effortless.” “This is a sport that has all
these wonderful technical elements. But they’re performed to music. They’re done as an
entire composition. So it really is artistry on
ice with athletic feats within.” “It really is like a moment of
zen when I’m doing my program. There’s a hush in my body. I don’t hear anything. I don’t really feel much. Occasionally I’ll just notice
certain colors or smells. I just let myself kind
of go on auto drive. If I do make a
mistake in my program, I can really quickly
calculate how much energy that I have to
redo a certain element. For instance, if I
fall on a quad lutz, do I have the energy to
do another quad lutz later in the program? Do I have an energy to
replace that with a toe? Do I have the energy to
just let all that go and do a triple lutz instead?” “It’s all very complicated. But bottom line is
that the judging system has gone so far into
‘mathletics’ and adding up all of the elements that you’re
doing that the art of figure skating is lost. But if Nathan Chen
does five or six quads, blows the roof off the
arena in Pyeongchang, who knows what can happen?”

100 thoughts on “Meet Nathan Chen, the Figure Skater Who Brought Athleticism to Artistry | NYT – Winter Olympics

  1. @nathanwchen quad king title didn't make you win 2017 world championship and olympic where you tried both 6 quads and still lost…6th in world and 5th in olympic…start thinking about the whole package rather than only relied on quads #yuzuruhanyu

  2. why do hanyu fans feel the need to push hanyu on fans who like Nathan. He is already champion many times over but it isn't enough so they have to push him on fans who like Nathan. WOW! Just because we fans who like Nathan, doesn't mean we don't appreciate other skaters. I have grown up watching my faves that came along like Hamilton, Petrenko, Plushenko, and yes even Hanyu … just to name a few. I've even loved skaters who weren't the big names. But now Nathan has come along and I am so drawn to his strength and grace as well. He has ballet movements that I have noticed from watching my daughter perform ballet for 12 years. So those who don't see his artistry chose not to see it or have to compare it to another. But I see Nathan for his unique style. I will be rooting for Nathan and continued success!!

  3. Why does this feel like a rewind of young Hanyu? Back when he was only focusing on one thing (can't remember what it was – I'm the farthest from an expert here), but Brian Orser made him see that he needed to focus on a good foundation before moving forward, and THEN you can fine-tune whatever you want to focus on. I firmly believe that is how Hanyu got his gold medals. He had a great coach who knew the right way. This is just my unprofessional opinion, so help me out if I'm wrong, but it seems to me like Chen also needs to build a stronger foundation first, before moving on to greater programs and scores.

    That being said, Chen is still amazing – all these young people are, and the pressure they're under is seriously no joke.

  4. I really dont like his skating its too stiff for me and he always looks dead inside tbh i prefer boyang jin over him very fun to watch

  5. He should work on perfecting the 3axel instead of showing off the 5 different quads. The landing of his quads either looked wobbly or stagnant. why is he given the title "quad king"?

  6. I dont get where the whole "Nathan strong competitor for olympics" came from, he is just a kid, and yes, Yuzuru was just a kid too, but Yuzuru is special, and we all now that. The media try to put it "Hanyu vs. Nathan" forgetting all the other strong competitors, forgetting Than Nathan didnt even have a world medal, who had just win Yuzuru once, forgetting about Javier (who had won him more than once), Shoma (japan's second best and strong competitor, Bojang (who is also strong, that quad lutz…I mean even Yuzuru praise him)…if the US media would have a little less ego everything would have ended well for Nathan, putting presure of someone like that, shame on them

  7. Have Nathan Chen ever did a perfect quad, even, with all +GOEs? Talk about overhyping a potential athlete and then just stunting his growth.

  8. Yuzuru and Yuna fans can’t stand hearing the word “best” in someone else without getting all defensive and triggered, it’s honestly just pathetic💀

  9. All I could remember after watching his programs was a lot of jumps and wobbly landings. He probably had trained very hard to achieve those quads but quads are just not enough to make you a phenom.

  10. I don't want to compare but if I do yuzu and him has completely different body , yuzu has body so flexible and his is not so but lil stiff .

  11. that's not AERODYNAMICS!! 1:48 what make the sewing needle spin faster than the pumpkin is that it have lesser moment of inertia. it's a mechanical phenomenon, and it has nothing to do with aerodynamics.

  12. He’s too robotic, too text book style. He is not unique in any artistic way. Sure he can do a quad, but he looks too stressed out about achieving it.

  13. His jumps are amazing yes but what artistry ? He needs to focus on to feeling the music and interpreting it. He is now just going by the music until a jumping pass comes. We will see how he grows by years and gains some experience.

  14. "His closest rivals may have to rely more on artistry to make up the points." I laughed out loud when I saw that! This makes it seem like having an artistic program and prioritizing quality over quantity is a bad thing. It would be better to say that the other skaters don't only rely on quads to get a high score (except Boyang, love him to death, but his PCs suffer as well. But it is impressive that he can get done in 4 quads what Nathan can in 5.)

    Also, Johnny trying to throw in scientific terms like "aerodynamics" is hilarious. What he is referring to is called rotational inertia. The closer an object's mass is destributed to its axis of rotation, the faster it can turn, due to conservation of rotational momentum.

    The pressure got to Nathan at the Olympics this year, and it was heartbreaking to watch, but he showed up at World's and saved the last group of men. I wish him the best of luck, and I am curious to see how he will balance his skating career and his studies at Yale next season.

  15. The reason why I don’t cheer for America in skating is because America’s ego is way to big. Seriously chill. America teams always put pressure of their members which put so much stress on them

  16. NYT… Are you serious?
    I know Nathan is American and he is quite awesome but please, figure skating so muuuuuch more than just throwing quads.
    The reason why most of them are throwing quads like crazy it's because of a certain Japanese fellow, who started lifting the bar over and over again. Showing a great combo between impeccable artistry and clean technique.
    And don't intend to offend Chen or his abilities.
    He's proven he's great but sensationalist notes, like this one, make me cringe.

  17. Yuzuru was under way more pressure and in pain. Nathan simply bought into his own hype then found the hard way that he wasn't the greatest as he and the American media thought he was.

  18. He's an exceptional figure skater and has a lot of potential but he relies on his athleticism too much. Figure skating is also about the story you tell in the ring. It sucks tho that he was so pressured by the press to bring home the gold. He is young and every mistake he made they crucified him for. It wasn't right. He's young and still has many Olympics to come.

  19. Everyone dragging Nathan for getting his hopes up for the Olympics when the real culprit is American media being stupid. I'm positive Nathan's gonna do better in coming seasons. Hopefully he can work out better choreography and aritsty and focus more on the quality of his jumps and not just the quantity. I'm sure if he can improve those two things, he'll excel a ton and become as legendary a skater as Yuzuru. I hope a lot of luck comes to his and Yuzuru's skating careers. (not to mention Shoma and Jin)

  20. I really enjoyed watching this. Prove that this is indeed a very difficult sport. I do not agree with the other competitors having to rely on artistry, thoough. They all have to rely on artistry since artstry is also being evaluated, and ice skating is more than jumping – in other languages Figure Ice Skating is actually known as Artistic Ice Skating. Chen is an amazing, courageous  skater with a wonderful technique.

  21. Nathan and artistry….?! No. He has great skating skills but definitely lacking in artistry. This is what you call true artistry:
    https://youtu.be/kkhn4KbisJc
    Plushenko’s free skating is just breathtaking.

  22. I just love love love watching Nathan! He is so amazing! Can't wait to see him in competition again in the upcoming season! 🙂

  23. But his jumps is not clean. Yuzuru has so much clean and look like easy jumps. Yuzuru is so much better than him.

  24. This is exactly why the ISU dumbed down its own rules and de-empasized athleticism, while over-emphasizing "artistry"…because of this guy. When he pulled off 5 quads at US Nationals, 5 quads in his Olympic LP and 6 quads at 2018 Worlds, it scared the sh*t out of the ISU that, God forbid, a skater actually be able to use his athletic prowess to offset the bias judges use in PCS and "artistry" to pad the scores of their preferred skaters. The judges don't like losing control and not being able to "choose" who wins competitions. That's why we have all the scoring changes that were made after Worlds 2018…to handicap the more athletic skaters like Chen and Zagitova and to give an unfair advantage through even more subjective scoring boosts to the "artists" who are less technically adept. Imagine if Usain Bolt was held back at the starting line, while his competitors all got a 1-2 second head start, to make it more "fair" because Usain is "too fast". That's what's happening in figure skating, and it's outrageous.

  25. He has athleticism and artistry, but he wasn’t the first one to bring it to skating. Many others have also had a wonderful balance. I feel like he is a great performer, but has more athleticism. I mean, he is the Quad King for a reason.

  26. STFU, people. Stop comparing him to Hanyu. I see all this as thinly-disguised racism – saying Nathan is like a "robot" and similar comments. You'd never say that about a white skater who skates much more "robotically" than he does. He's the first skater to ever do 5+ quads in one program – that's an extreme feat. I think people's eyes aren't accustomed to him – he's not quite as graceful and amazing-looking on the ice as Hanyu. He doesn't look like a perfect anime character, like Hanyu.

    Yuzu does 0 quads, but he gets away with a lot because he looks very aesthetically-pleasing on the ice. People, including judges, THINK he's amazing artistically, but it's mostly because he LOOKS GOOD that people's minds are swayed into thinking he's actually artistically stunning. People's minds work that way.

    Nathan should actually be better-known and more celebrated than he is. He goes to Yale – that's better than pretty much any other figure skater. He's Chinese American, and people actually don't give him enough credit for everything he's done. He's pretty much unknown to the broader world out there – only figure skating fans know about him.

    NYT usually sucks. They're not praising an American so much as "reporting" on him. The US and the world is very anti-Chinese.

  27. This is so disturbingly similar to how people (the Olympic community) treated Tonya Harding: "She too athletic and we don't like how she presents herself artistically!"
    Its an a demanding athletic sport… and why should anyone be dictating someones creative expression like we're all the same sheep?

  28. The title is kind of offensive to literally every other skater.
    Nathan is great but what even is this title? Biased reporting much?

  29. Maybe Im overreacting but I felt uncomfortable reading "He (Nathan) consistently attempts more quads than his closest rivals, who may have to rely more on artistry to make up the points." at 2:12

    Doesn't figure skating is a sport with both artistry and technical ? What's the point if you have a lot of jumps but neglected artistry then ? 😅

  30. Why do people need to compare and compete him with Yuzuru, more like, I am glad there's an Asian descent guy besides Yuzuru we can adore, the more talented and skilled skaters, the better. He is good though.

  31. I've noticed American media focuses more on their own figure skaters and don't care about anyone else, and since these companies dominate the news we know Tonya Harding's name instead of Midori Ito and soon will know Nathan Chen instead of Yuzuru Hanyu. Midori landed the first triple axel in competition ever, so why do most people know Tonya instead of her? Even if you knew Tonya's name as the first AMERICAN woman to land it most still don't know Midori's. Nonamerican celebrities, companies, athletes have to work twice as hard to get half as much 🤦🏽

  32. you cant compare him to yuzuru hanyu, one of the most well known and respected male figure skaters of our time, when it is LITERALLY his first olympics. yuzuru is obviously much more mature and skilled in areas than nathan but its kinda inevitable?? im sure nathans time will come but there is no way he would even compare to yuzuru, they’re not even in the same playing field.

  33. No hate, but I don't think he brought athleticism………..maybe "Meet Nathan Chen, the Figure Skater Who Added Another Challenge to Skaters" or something :O <3 ^_^

  34. While I do agree that Nathan had too much pressure put on him, I think the same applies to Hanyu as well. Maybe the mainstream American media portraites Nathan as the best, but Hanyu has the same pressure from his country. Everyone has pressure and at the end of the day, it's how well you can deal with it. Also to people who claim that "IF Nathan had a normal day he will win", how about " IF everyone had a normal day"? Keep in mind if we compare EVERY skaters best record, the highest is still Hanyu's.

  35. I don't think Nathan needs the olympic title to go down in history, because with merely the fact the he is capable of all quads except 4a is something that will forever set him apart. With the new scoring system and base value of quads degraded I doubt that anyone will ever attempt what Nathan did, namely learn and compete with all the quads except 4a, the risk is too high, the payoff too elusive. Thus Nathan has already solidified his spot in the history of the figure skating as one of the greatest.

  36. No,no! He is a jumping machine. Zero artistry in his performances. He is a very cute guy and I like him. I only hope he want even to be an artistic skater ,not only an over scored jumping machine of all the judges that he is to day. It's not really to reason to over score him so much. It's not at all good for figure skating. But he is young and lf he want to work with his artistry and not only jumping he can be really great in the future. 😊💖👍

  37. Nathan you are built beautifully and powerfully. You come out like a warrior ready for battle like the champion you are. Your confidence will be complete and you will win gold in WC in March!!! You are loved and adored!!! Our young hero! Do not underestimate Mr. Chen!!!

  38. America tries to win everything, placing pressure on just one kid, he will get there but it takes time, there are always other athletes to compete for the states

  39. Кто тренер этого уникального спортсмена Nathan CHEN ?????ЭТО ПОТРЯСАЮЩЕ,,,,МОЩНО И ВЕЛИКОЛЕПНО СТАБИЛЬНО ,,,А ВЕДЬ ОН ТАК МОЛОД— 19 ЛЕТ Хотелось бы знать подробнее его СтановлениИ И БОЛЬШЕ О ЕГО ТРЕНЕРЕ ,,,,,

  40. I remember back in the day when Elvis Stojko, Philippe Candeloro, and others were trying to incorporate quads into their routines. It was more like a novelty then, but now its expected.

  41. U American media put too much pressure on him. He is still beginning yet so much pressure. U put so much hope onto him. To those that said “so much hype” tell ur media that to not do that.

  42. What an amazing young man! He has accomplished so much and has come a long way!! I love watching him skate!! 🙂

  43. "who may have to rely more on artistry to make up the points" this is what figure skating is all about.

  44. As a Yuzuru’s supporter I have to say Nathan’s quad looks more stable and looks good. However (just my feeling) it looks stiff and his performance (besides technical aspects) looks too… sporty. Well maybe I prefer the softness, elegance and the choreography and the ability to attract audiences than an attempt to make quads as many as possible to add up the scores.

  45. Hey NYT, your bias is showing for US of A. Talk about fair journalism, as if no other skater demonstrated athleticism to artistry. Glad NC lost at the Olympics.

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