While most Americans were heading to bed Monday night, Nathan Chen was living the dream for Team USA in Beijing.
Four years after falling during the short program in both the individual and team event in PyeongChang, Chen set the highest short program score in figure skating history with an epic performance in Beijing.
A record score of 113.97 puts Chen nearly six points ahead of second place going into Thursday’s free skate portion of the men’s individual event, where Chen is seeking his first individual gold medal.
Skating to Charles Aznavour’s French classic ”La Boheme,” Chen’s routine was the pièce de résistance of Tuesday morning’s short program.
As part of his routine, Chen perfectly executed a quad flip, triple axel and a quad flip-triple toe loop combination that wowed judges and an American audience that stayed up late to witness his chance at Olympic redemption.
“I was elated,” Chen said during the NBC broadcast. “Last Olympics, both short programs didn’t go the way that I wanted and finally getting the opportunity to skate the programs the way that I wanted—it feels really good. It means a lot.”