Nathan Chen, the U.S. bronze medal winner at nationals will not be attending the figure skating world championships in spring. According to USA Today, Chen injured his hip in an exhibition just hours after taking bronze on Sunday. He had surgery on Wednesday and is projected to return to the ice in 8-10 weeks. That will not be in time for either the senior or junior world championship competitions.
On Sunday, Nathan became the first American to land four quadruple jumps in his long program at just 16 years of age. He was also the first U.S. skater to land two quadruple jumps in his short program earlier in the two-day competition. As commentators Johnny Weir and Tara Lapinski can more adequately explain in the video, Chen should be the future of U.S. figure skating, if U.S. judges can begin to embrace world figure skating’s shift toward more athletic skating over artistry.
Chen took bronze despite making history in both his programs, he did fall on a difficult triple. Adam Rippon, who did not attempt a quadruple, won gold, and silver medalist, Max Aaron, a 2013 national champion, landed one. Both are certainly more mature, perhaps more nuanced skaters, but Chen’s medal meant he would have rightfully had a chance to compete for a spot on the U.S. Olympic senior team had he not been injured. He is expected to make a full recovery.
Chen is one of many Asian Americans who continue to make their mark in U.S. figure skating. The Shibutani siblings, Alex and Maia, who won an ice dancing gold at Nationals will be joining Chen at the World Championships in Boston along with Hawaiian-born Madison Chock and Evan Bates.
2010 Olympian Mirai Nagasu is a first alternate along with pairs skaters Marissa Castelli and Mervin Tran. Jessica Calalang and Zack Sichu are pairs third alternates.