Nathan Chen

Nathan Chen, National Title winner of the U.S. Figure Skating Championships, is going to the Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea. And fun fact…he says he owes it to ballet!

Chen trained with Ballet West Academy in Utah for six years, and he told NBC News that was “where it all started. My training and ballet background definitely gives me the competitive edge on the ice.” And while it’s not uncommon for ice skaters to take ballet class, Chen truly excelled in dance. The late Mark Goldweber, a former Ballet West Ballet Master, even gave him a special variation in their Sleeping Beauty that complimented his ability to jump. It was clear from an early age that jumps were Chen’s specialty, and that’s a true statement on and off the ice.

Chen is the only skater who can currently do a quadruple toe loop (a jump with at least four revolutions), Salchow (a jump with a backwards takeoff with a turn), loop (a jump that takes off and lands on the same back outside edge of the skate), flip and Lutz (both of which are complicated toepick-assisted jumps). He is a force to be reckoned with on the ice, and with a ballet background to back him up, it looks like he’ll be nearly unstoppable.

We’re definitely looking forward to seeing him perform next month!

About the author

Keira Whitaker is a dedicated teacher, performer, and choreographer, who has been dancing for the past 21 years. She recently graduated from the University of California Irvine with a BFA in Dance performance and a minor in English.