IFS April 2022

A small number of copies of the IFS April 2022 issue are now available!

Excerpts from the April 2022 issue cover story:

The 2022 Olympic Winter Games marked the first time this season that the top men in the sport would share the same ice, and expectations were high that a battle royale could unfold between two of them: Nathan Chen and Yuzuru Hanyu.

Chen headed into the Games with maturity and a surety he did not have four years earlier. The showdown that was expected in 2018 in PyeongChang never materialized. Chen was determined that scenario would not be repeated in Beijing.

Hanyu entered the competition having not competed on an international stage all season, so how he would fare against Chen was an unknown.

Chen, who returned to successful programs he had competed in a previous season, did not put a foot wrong in his performance to Charles Aznavour’s version of “La Bohème,” executing a quad flip, triple Axel, quad Lutz-triple toe combination and Level 4 spins and footwork.

As the last note of his music faded, and in a rare show of emotion, Chen could not hide his relief and pumped his fist emphatically. “I have no idea what came over me. Normally I don’t do stuff like that, but it just felt right. I was really happy, and it just came out,” the 22-year-old American explained.

Chen won the segment with a new World record score of 113.97, surpassing the one set by Hanyu at the 2020 Four Continents Championships by 2.15 points. “I would say it was pretty close to my best,” said Chen. “Obviously, there are always things I can improve on, there are always things I can do a little bit better, but overall I’m very happy.

“It definitely means a lot to be able to come back to an Olympics and have the opportunity to do two short programs and have them go as well as I could have hoped. I am very happy to be here. The arena is beautiful, and the colors of the rink are very calming. I felt very settled as soon as I stepped onto the ice.”

Skating last in the field of 24, Chen fired up his Elton John “Rocket Man” long program from the first note of the music, reeling off a series of clean four- rotation jumps: quad flip-triple toe, quad flip, quad Salchow, quad Lutz, and a quad toe in sequence, along with a triple Axel and a triple Lutz-triple toe loop combination. His only mistake was singling the flip on the backend of the sequence.

Chen’s efforts were rewarded with 218.63 points for the segment and with a combined total of 332.60, the Salt Lake City native claimed the Olympic title in a runaway victory, outscoring his nearest competitor by a margin of 22.55 points.

It was the first Olympic victory for a U.S. man since Evan Lysacek won the title 12 years earlier at the 2010 Games in Vancouver. Chen is the seventh U.S. man in 74 years to claim an Olympic crown.

“It’s a whirlwind right now — too many emotions. I have to take a little bit of time to process everything, but it means the world to me and I am very happy,” said Chen at the post-event press conference.

“Truly, I never imagined I would be able to make it this far in my career and make it to two Olympics. I had always dreamt about making the Olympics and winning the Olympics, but I thought, ‘that’s hard; I don’t know if I can make that happen.’

“Before every event I am certainly very nervous and am thinking about what I can do, what I need to do, what I should do, and that was certainly no different here. I am glad I had the opportunity and that I was able to do what I needed to do to win. I had a blast out there.

“I was tracking the other skaters’ performances backstage on a TV — everyone skated quite well — but my focus was on trying to do the best I could do, given where I had to skate — last.”

Now that he has achieved his Olympic dream, what lies ahead for Chen? When asked about his future plans, he hedged the question. “At this point I have no idea. I am going back to school in August, but as for skating, I will take some time to think.”