NEW YORK — Somehow, in the midst of his freshman season at Yale, Nathan Chen has found time to escape the classroom and the study hall and the tests.
All he’s done since becoming an Ivy Leaguer is win the Grand Prix Final, a third straight U.S. figure skating championship, and repeat as world champion. Yale might have a strong hockey team, but Chen’s hat trick can’t be matched by any of the Bulldogs.
Chen chuckles when asked about achieving so much while also carrying a hefty workload in school.
“It is challenging,” he says, “but I knew it would be.”
And now that the competitive season is over — Chen helped the United States to a first-place finish in a world team event last weekend — he can have some downtime, right?
Well, he could. Instead, he’s fitting in appearances with the Stars on Ice tour , which launches Thursday night in Fort Myers, Florida. He will, however, skip some stops on the 13-city tour to take class finals. He is, after all, a full-time student.
“It will be a challenge because of exams and other things, but most of the shows are East Coast- based and I can travel to school and back to the show,” he says. “Yeah, I am taking a gap for finals, but ultimately (the grind) is not too much of a concern.
“It’s really nice that we have so many top skaters in Stars on Ice, so I am not part of the cast this year based on my schedules. It would definitely impact the cast if they had to take me out of some (routines). It’s a better idea to do my numbers separately. Besides, with all they have accomplished, they are a great cast.”
That includes 2014 Olympic champion ice dancers Meryl Davis and Charlie White, world bronze medallist Vincent Zhou, and world silver medallists Madison Hubbell and Zach Donohue.
Still, the fact Chen, who turns 20 next month, is participating on the tour after a full season of competition and the Yale workload is somewhat astounding.
But he’s worked out a regimen for practices in New Haven, chats “all the time” with coach Rafael Arutyunyan, and really hasn’t missed a beat — or a quad — since his fiasco of a short program at the 2018 Olympics that likely cost him a medal.
Chen has been a winner at everything he has entered since the Pyeongchang Games, where his outsized performance …read more