OLYMPICS

SLC Olympian May Understand Pressure Felt By Simone Biles More Than Most

Jul 29, 2021, 12:38 AM | Updated: Apr 17, 2023, 4:02 pm

GANGNEUNG, SOUTH KOREA - FEBRUARY 17:  Nathan Chen of the United States competes during the Men's S...

GANGNEUNG, SOUTH KOREA - FEBRUARY 17: Nathan Chen of the United States competes during the Men's Single Free Program on day eight of the PyeongChang 2018 Winter Olympic Games at Gangneung Ice Arena on February 17, 2018 in Gangneung, South Korea. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)

(Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)

TOKYO – Most people will never know the pressure Olympic athletes are under to perform but Nathan Chen does.

Similar to gymnast Simone Biles, Chen was the ‘face’ of Team USA in the months leading up to the 2018 PyeongChang Winter Olympics. Everyone thought he would easily win the gold in men’s figure skating. He’d won nearly every competition leading up to the games with moves no one else could do. But when the time came for his short program Chen fell and stumbled several times. Not only did he miss out on gold he didn’t even medal.

“I think going into 2018 I had the perspective of being like, ‘I’m there to win. I have this opportunity to win and that’s it,’ And it didn’t really turn out that way, you know?” he told me over Zoom recently.

Maybe it was the pressure to succeed at a high level most people will never understand. Or maybe it was the marketing, branding, and commercialization of his skating. Whatever it was, Chen remembers feeling the mental toll.

“Last Olympics I was stressed out the entire time,” he said. “I did not enjoy the experience. Of course it’s the Olympics so I tried to remind myself, ‘This is such a cool time,’ but I really couldn’t get over the fact that it was such a stressful moment.”

In his next skate, the free skate, Chen was flawless.

Since 2018 he’s won every skating championship he’s entered. Now, with about six months until the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics, Chen says he’s going in with a different frame of mind.  One that allows him to be human and to have fun.

“Ultimately, when I’m happy and positive things end up going a lot better and more in my favor,” he told me, “So that’s sort of my attitude going into these games. And I’m really looking forward to it. It’s such an interesting experience.”

KSL 5 TV Live

Olympics

A basketball hoop at the Adaptive Arena in Bluffdale, which is a gym made for kids with some disabi...

Alex Cabrero

Get In The Games: Adaptive Arena welcomes kids with disabilities to play sports

A new gym is welcoming kids with a disability to play sports that are specifically designed for their needs.

2 days ago

this is a graphic treatment over a shot of downtown SLC, created for the story. (KSL TV)...

Ken Fall and Mike Headrick

Utah’s sports surge: What the state’s big plans could mean for future generations

Do big sports, big plans and big changes mean big wins for Utahns? From professional hockey to plans for Major League Baseball and another shot at the Olympic spotlight, the possibilities for Utah seem endless.

5 days ago

Simone Biles looks on prior to performing a floor routine during the 2024 Core Hydration Classic at...

Associated Press

Simone Biles shines in return while Gabby Douglas scratches after a shaky start at the U.S. Classic

Simone Biles certainly looks ready for Paris with more than two months to go before the Olympic games begin. The gymnastics superstar began her bid for a third Olympic team looking as dominant as ever at the U.S. Classic.

6 days ago

IZU, JAPAN - JULY 27: Haley Batten of Team United States rides during the Women's Cross-country rac...

Alex Cabrero

Park City mountain biker training to compete in her second Olympics

Haley Batten who is on the USA Cycling team, competed in the Tokyo 2020 Olympics. Now, she's training for Paris.

8 days ago

a student dances in a studio...

Alex Cabrero

Get In The Games: ‘Breaking’ Olympic sport has a home in Utah

Once called break dancing, "breaking" is now an Olympic sport, with a place to learn in Utah.

9 days ago

MARSEILLE, FRANCE - MAY 08: A general view as ship Belem  arrives at the Vieux-Port harbor during t...

Sylvie Corbet

Torchbearers in Marseille kick off the Olympic flame’s journey across France

Joyful crowds gathered along the streets of France’s southern port of Marseille on Thursday to see torchbearers carrying the Olympic flame through the city's most emblematic sites.

16 days ago

Sponsored Articles

Electrician repairing ceiling fan with lamps indoors...

Lighting Design

Stay cool this summer with ceiling fans

When used correctly, ceiling fans help circulate cool and warm air. They can also help you save on utilities.

Side view at diverse group of children sitting in row at school classroom and using laptops...

PC Laptops

5 Internet Safety Tips for Kids

Read these tips about internet safety for kids so that your children can use this tool for learning and discovery in positive ways.

Women hold card for scanning key card to access Photocopier Security system concept...

Les Olson

Why Printer Security Should Be Top of Mind for Your Business

Connected printers have vulnerable endpoints that are an easy target for cyber thieves. Protect your business with these tips.

Modern chandelier hanging from a white slanted ceiling with windows in the backgruond...

Lighting Design

Light Up Your Home With These Top Lighting Trends for 2024

Check out the latest lighting design trends for 2024 and tips on how you can incorporate them into your home.

Technician woman fixing hardware of desktop computer. Close up....

PC Laptops

Tips for Hassle-Free Computer Repairs

Experiencing a glitch in your computer can be frustrating, but with these tips you can have your computer repaired without the stress.

Close up of finger on keyboard button with number 11 logo...

PC Laptops

7 Reasons Why You Should Upgrade Your Laptop to Windows 11

Explore the benefits of upgrading to Windows 11 for a smoother, more secure, and feature-packed computing experience.

SLC Olympian May Understand Pressure Felt By Simone Biles More Than Most