NATHAN CHEN - Biography of A Champion

NATHAN CHEN - American figure skater.

Nathan Chen Gold Medalist 2015 ISU JGP Colorado Springs CO USA

He is the 2014 World Junior bronze medalist, the 2013 Junior Grand Prix Final (JGP) Bronze Medalist and 2014 U.S. Junior Champion.

Nathan Chen was born in Salt Lake City, Utah. He attended West High School in Salt Lake City and Rim of the World High School in Lake Arrowhead, California before enrolling at Capistrano Connections Academy, an online high school, in August 2013 as a sophomore. In addition to figure skating, Chen trained in ballet with Ballet West Academy as well as competing in gymnastics at the State and Regional levels for seven years.

Early years to Novice Level

Nathan started figure skating at age three and entered his first skating competition in 2003. From 2007-2009, Chen qualified to compete in the U.S. Junior Nationals at the juvenile and intermediate levels. He placed 10th and 3rd in juveniles at the 2007 and 2008 Junior Nationals. At the 2009 Junior Nationals, he won the intermediate men's silver medal.

Chen advanced to the novice level in the 2009-2010 season. He won the national novice title at the 2010 U.S. Championships in Spokane, WA and became the youngest novice champion in the history of U.S. Figure Skating at age 10. Due to his young age, Chen opted to remain at the novice level for the 2010-2011 season and he defended his novice title at the 2011 U.S. Championships in Greensboro, North Carolina.


Junior Level

For the 2011–12 season, Chen moved up to the junior level in national competitions. He was coached by Genia Chernyshova and also traveled to Lake Arrowhead, California to work with jump specialist Rafael Arutyunyan. Arutyunyan became his main coach in mid-December 2011. Chen won the junior men's title at the 2012 U.S. Championships in San Jose, California on January 24, 2012.  Chen's first international competition was the 2012 Gardena Spring Trophy in Selva Val Gardena, Italy, where he won the novice men's event.

In 2012–2013, Chen stayed at the junior level nationally, and became age-eligible (13 years old) to compete in the ISU Jr. Grand Prix (JGP) series. Chen's first assignment was the 2012 JGP Austria in Linz from September 12–16, 2012.  In his JGP debut in Linz, Chen won the gold medal with the highest score of 222.00 ever awarded to date in the ISU Junior Grand Prix series. Chen withdrew from his second event, JGP Croatia, in early October 2012 after the short program due to a lower leg injury and thus did not qualify for the JGP Final. Chen won the junior men’s bronze medal at the 2013 U.S. Figure Skating Championships in Omaha, Nebraska, on January 22, 2013.


In 2013–14, Chen started his season at the ISU Junior Grand Prix in Mexico in September 2013 and won the gold medal. He then won a second JGP gold medal of the season at ISU Junior Grand Prix in Belarus and qualified for the ISU Junior Grand Prix Final in Fukuoka, Japan, where he won the bronze medal. On January 9, 2014 Chen broke a six-year U.S. junior men's record of 213.76 at the 2014 U.S. Championships in Boston, Massachusetts, en route to his second U.S. junior title. His final combination spin in the short program received 4.86 points, the highest among active male skaters in the world. Chen was awarded the bronze medal at the 2014 World Junior Figure Skating Championships in Sofia, Bulgaria in March 2014. The results of Chen and teammates Jordan Moeller and Shotaro Omori gained three entries for the United States to the 2015 World Junior Championships. 

Senior Level

Chen moved up to senior competitions in the 2014-2015 season. At the Pacific Sectional Figure Skating Championships, Nov. 2014, he landed a clean quadruple toe loop and double toe loop combination jump (4T+2T) in his free skate, winning the senior men's division, and advanced to the 2015 U.S. Championships in Greensboro, NC. Unfortunately Chen developed a plate growth-related heel injury one week before the national championships. He competed scaled-back versions of his short and long programs while on pain medications, and placed eighth overall in his senior nationals debut January 17-25. After the competition, Chen was named to the 2015 U. S. Figure Skating Junior World Team. He finished 4th at the 2015 Junior World Championships in Tallinn, Estonia on March 8, 2015.


2015-2016 Programs 

Short program

  • Smile based on Modern Times theme performed by Michael Jackson and 
  • Smooth Criminal by Michael Jackson, choreographed by Nadezda Kanaeva 

Free Skate program

  • Symphony No. 3 avec Orgue by Camille Saint-Saens, choreographed by Nikolai Morozov 



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