Nathan Chen and Chloe Kim Make Olympic History

Two Americans Take Home the Gold and Go Down in the Olympic History

From Russian doping scandals to the German luge sweep, new mixed team events and new records, the 2022 Winter Olympics were nothing short of exciting. Because you have probably read or at least seen all of the other Olympic articles, I am just going to cut straight to the chase here.

 

Why Nathan Chen Didn't Bring His Phone To The Olympics: A Lesson In Creativity And Focus
Nathan Chen during his short program. Image from Forbes

Nathan Chen

Nathan Chen made his Olympic debut in the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics at the age of 18. Going into these games, Chen was a U.S. favorite, and was expected to medal. However, this expectation and Chen’s dream was crushed after a couple of falls put him off the podium and into fifth place. But, rather than letting this discourage him, Chen used this as motivation for the competitions to come, and set his eyes on the 2022 Olympics.

Between 2018 to 2022, Chen won the world Championships three times (2012, 2019, and 2021), was a Grand Prix Final champion two times (2018 and 2019), and a U.S. Figure Skating Champion five times (2018, 2019, 2020, 2021, and 2022).

Going into the 2022 Olympics, Nathan Chen was once again favored to win, but this time (as most of you probably know), he exceeded all expectations. He had a strong start, helping the U.S. win silver in the team event. Then, not only did he finish first in the short program, he finished with the highest scoring short program in history with a 113.97. After the free skate program, Chen’s combined score was 332.60, securing him the gold medal. Not only did Chen break a world record, he became the first American man to win an individual medal since Evan Lysacek in 2010.

 

Olympic Snowboarder Chloe Kim Defends Her Halfpipe Gold in Beijing – The Hollywood Reporter
Chloe Kim with her Halfpipe Gold. Image from Hollywood Reporter

Chloe Kim

Chloe Kim also made her Olympic debut in 2018 at the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics at the age of 17. Kim’s Olympic debut went much better than Chen’s, as she took home the gold in the snowboard halfpipe. This victory made her the youngest woman to win an Olympic snowboarding medal.

Unfortunately, she did not earn as many accolades in between the games as Chen, as she suffered a broken ankle at the 2019 U.S. Burton Open. This injury resulted in a 22 month break from snowboarding. In her first competition back (the Laax Open in January 2021), Kim took home gold with a score of 94.00. Then, she went on to win gold in all other events she competed in, including: X Games Aspen (2021), Aspen world championships (2021), U.S. Grand Prix (2021), Dew Tour (2021), and the Laax Open (2022).

Kim did not let the pressure of the 2018 medal or all of her other competition wins get in her head during the 2022 games. During her first run in the snowboarding halfpipe finals, Kim nailed a score of a 94.00. As the competition went on, the only score that came close was a 90.25 by Spaniard Queralt Catellet. With this win, Chloe Kim became the first woman in halfpipe to win multiple, and consecutive gold.

The biggest challenge for me now is just to be as open as possible, because I hope that maybe one day, a little girl can hear my story and be inspired to keep going, to never give up, to learn that it’s OK to have a bad day, but you can move on if you come out in a better place at the end of it all”

— Chloe Kim (from NPR)

There is no doubt that these two athletes will go down in history as some of the greatest athletes in their sports, and you bet they will be back for the 2026 Winter Olympics in Milan and Cortina d’Ampezzo.