On Wednesday, Feb. 9th, the USA was sitting in tenth place in the overall medal count for the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics. By Thursday, the USA was able to pick up an additional three gold medals which propelled them into fourth overall. The most notable of these gold medals was the one earned by figure skater Nathan Chen in the men's single free skating competition according to the New York Times

Nathan Wei Chen, a 22-year-old born in Salt Lake City, Utah, was finally rewarded with a redemption arc. He was provided the opportunity to prove that he is the best in the world at the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics. He did not disappoint, earning the US its third gold medal in the games.

The 2022 Winter Olympics is not this young star's first attempt at Olympic gold in figure skating. In 2018, Chen attended the PyeongChang Winter Olympic Games and was able to secure a bronze medal in the team event by placing first in the men’s short program section. His debut Olympics took a turn for the worse when he performed poorly in the short program in the men’s individual event. His mistakes landed him in 17th place after the short program but he was able to recover to fifth place when he became the first man at the olympics to attempt six quads — landing five of them perfectly. A quad is when a skater launches off the ice, completing at least four revolutions in the air and landing on one foot. Chen obtained the highest free skate score in Olympic history with a score of 215.08 based on two categories worth of points, technical and component. Although he had a fantastic performance, the dreams of earning a gold medal were squashed due to his earlier mishaps. Although Nathan Chen set multiple records and solidified his name in Olympic skating history, he left empty handed in individual competition.

Although he fell short at his first olympics, Nathan Chen became a three time world champion in 2018, 2019, and 2021. He was also the champion at the 2017 Four Continents Figure SkatingChampionship and a three time Grand Prix Final champion in 2017, 2018, and 2019. He has also won the U.S. national championship for six consecutive years from 2017.

The Beijing Winter Olympic games provided this young athlete with an opportunity to earn the gold medal that he knew was rightfully his. Starting off strong, Nathan Chen was able to propel team USA into second place in the team event by placing first in his section. He excited and invigorated the American public, foreshadowing a breathtaking performance in the individual competition. 

On Thursday night, judgment day had arrived. Nathan Chen was last to go due to his exciting and flawless performance in the short program. Before him, two Japanese skaters Yuma Kagiyama, 18, and Shoma Uno, 24, put forth high intensity performances with an elevated degree of difficulty but both failed to land their tricks cleanly without mistake. 

As Chen stepped on the ice, everyone watching at home buzzed with anticipation of a glorious performance. “Rocket Man” by Elton John rang through the speakers as Chen began his bid for the gold medal. After five quadruple jumps, a series of artistic spins, and intense choreography, it was evident that he would be taking the gold home with him. Notoriously known for not portraying much emotion while on the ice, Nathan Chen had a gigantic grin on his face as he ended his long program. 

Nathan Chen ended in first place with a total point value of 332.60. He blew away the competition, scoring much higher than the silver medalist Kagiyama with a score of 310.05 and bronze medalist Uno with a score of 293.0. Nathan Wei Chen had completed the Olympic redemption arc of the century.