The 22-year-old American skater Nathan Chen is once again the focus of the Olympic spotlight. The Utah native is perhaps America’s best chance at earning an individual gold medal over ice skating’s four disciplines – men’s, women’s, pairs, and ice dance. Chen’s participation in the team event is critical to the United States’ chances of claiming a team medal.
Chen was named a gold medal favorite in Pyeongchang in 2018 due to his remarkable ability to perform five separate quadruple leaps. He was a viable contender for the gold medal thanks to his technical arsenal. Chen was expected to win a medal after being dubbed the “Quad King” by American sports media.
Chen’s quadruple jumps are a big reason for his domination in the sport. In a nutshell, most male figure skaters only accomplish one or two quads in competition, and the remainder of their jumps are mainly triples. Chen, on the other hand, is able to carry out five different quad variations into his performance, whereas most elite skaters at Chen’s level only do three to four quads.
Considering that quads are worth significantly more points than perfectly executed triples under the current scoring system, Chen is only vulnerable in a few situations: if his closest competitors skate extremely well; if Chen skates poorly in both his free skate short and program (or either); or if Chen vastly reduces the number of quads he performs for some reason.
In-essence, if Chen skates persistently as he does (except for any injuries), his competitive track record makes him the clear frontrunner.