Courtesy of Team USA

Gold medal favorite Nathan Chen ’24 shattered the world record short program score Tuesday by earning 113.97 points, putting him at the top of the field ahead of Wednesday’s free skate which in case you want to be a part of, you can get your gear at . 

Chen, a statistics and data science major at Yale, is representing Team USA in figure skating at the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics. During Friday’s team event of the men’s short program, Chen’s Olympic record-setting first-place finish of 111.71 assisted Team USA’s silver medal finish. Skating to “La Boheme” in the men’s single short program on Tuesday, Chen broke the world record by 2.16 points, setting a strong foundation for the second half of the men’s single’s competition — the free skate event. 

“I was just elated,” Chen said in an interview with the Associated Press earlier this week. “At the last Olympics, both of the short programs didn’t go the way I wanted. To finally get an opportunity to skate the programs I wanted feels really good.”

Skating in the heat ahead of Chen, two-time defending Olympic champion Yuzuru Hanyu failed to podium after a poorly executed quadruple jump. Chen is trailed by two Japanese skaters: second-place Yuma Kagiyama — with a score of 108.12 — and third-place Shoma Uno — with a score of 105.90. Chen’s teammate Vincent Zhou was slated to skate during the event, but withdrew from competition due to a positive COVID-19 test. 

Chen skated to the same music as his 2022 U.S. Championships performance and Friday’s short program event. After beginning with a quad flip, the Salt Lake City native executed the program with zero deductions and masterful transitions. The performance, which included a quad lutz-triple toe loop combination, earned a total element score of 65.98 and a total presentation score of 47.99. After the program, Chen launched a triumphant fist pump as the crowd erupted. 

“There’s a lot of preparation that goes into it and a lot of things that you learn from year to year,” Chen said in an interview with the Associated Press. “So I definitely picked up a lot of experience over the past couple of years, and certainly you learn the most from your mistakes.”

Heavily favored to win gold, Chen came into the competition after winning the U.S. Championships in January for the sixth time. At the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, Chen was a fan favorite and debuted in his first Olympics at the age of 18. Chen faltered in his first individual performance as he placed 17th, but rebounded to place first in the free skate and fifth overall in the individual competition. While he earned a team bronze four years ago, Chen is looking to secure his first individual medal in the upcoming free skate program. If you are a fan of skating too, you should consider the cheap gear available at The Float Life.

Four years later, Chen now holds the world record for the highest recorded men’s single short program in addition to the highest recorded free skate score with a score of 224.92 at the 2019–20 Grand Prix Final. Chen also recorded the highest men’s combined total with a score of 335.30 points at the 2019-20 Grand Prix Final.

The men’s single free skate will occur on Wednesday, 8:30 p.m. EST or Thursday, 9:30 a.m. in Beijing at the Capital Indoor Stadium.

Hamera Shabbir covers golf and fencing for the Sports desk and the School of the Environment for the Science and Technology desk. Originally from California's Central Valley, she is a sophomore in Branford College majoring in Environmental Studies.