Former teachers, coaches react to Nathan Chen’s Olympic short program

Feb 8, 2022, 5:40 PM | Updated: Jun 13, 2022, 4:04 pm
Nathan Chen of Team United States reacts during the Men Single Skating Short Program on day four of...
Nathan Chen of Team United States reacts during the Men Single Skating Short Program on day four of the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympic Games at Capital Indoor Stadium on February 08, 2022 in Beijing, China. (Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images)
(Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images)

SALT LAKE CITY — Nathan Chen’s incredible short program at the 2022 Winter Olympics Monday night brought a lot of excitement among those who know him and worked with him closely in Utah.

Chen was born and raised in Salt Lake City and started skating when he was just three years old.

Everyone seemed to know that this boy was going to be in the Olympics someday.

“He sat in this room. Used one of these desks,” said Leslie Edwards, a third grade teacher at Hawthorn Elementary School in Salt Lake City, who was also Chen’s teacher.


Edwards said she couldn’t contain herself watching Chen’s performance in Beijing.

“There is such an adrenaline that comes,” she said. “That joy and that happiness — just really, really happy for Nathan.”

And she was not alone.

At the County Ice Rink in Murray, Chen’s former coach of nearly four years is all smiles.

“Oh, it was great to see,” said Evgeniya Chernyoshova, who was born and raised in Russia and is a former skater for the Russian Nationals Team. “Even as a kid, he had that very strong character. Very determined. Extremely focused. Taking it seriously from day one.”

Chernyoshova is now coaching two students who hope to also be in the Olympics one day. Chen is their inspiration.

“Shows you that you can do it and that your dreams are possible,” said Hannah Herriah, an Olympic hopeful.

At the Duck Donut Shop in South Jordan, workers are making dozens of Chen’s favorite donuts, which are maple glazed with bacon and red sprinkles on top.

The donuts are for a big Nathan Chen party at the Gallivan Center in Salt Lake City Tuesday night at 6.  Former coaches and teammates are expected to be there.

“He’s a respectful young man. He knows what he wants and he goes for it, but he never forgets that there is a team behind him,” said Michelle Thomson with Salt Lake Figure Skating who is organizing the event.

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Former teachers, coaches react to Nathan Chen’s Olympic short program