Team USA’s Nathan Chen Struggles In Winter Olympics Skating Debut, Finishes Fourth In Team Event [VIDEO]
Figure skater Nathan Chen was projected to be one of the best American athletes to compete in the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, but instead he disappointed with his debut performance on Thursday.
Nathan Chen Winter Olympics 2018 debut performance
The 18-year-old skater — who won gold at the 2017 Four Continents Championships in Gangneung, South Korea — finished fourth in the team event after botching a move or landing more than once and falling on the ice to earn a final score of 80.61. NBC analyst and former Olympian Johnny Weir called the performance “a disaster.”
Several people on Twitter were quick to echo Weir’s comments about Chen’s triple-axel wipeout and failed quad.
Huge bummer for Nathan. Doubles a planned quad and then falls on the triple Axel. 80.61… he’s crushed with that score in the kiss and cry
— Nick McCarvel (@NickMcCarvel) February 9, 2018
A disastrously bad performance for Nathan Chen. No clean jump, one fall, a doubled quad toe
— Philip Hersh (@olyphil) February 9, 2018
Analysts Weir and Tara Lipinski, another medal-winning former American Olympic skater, reportedly annoyed several viewers with their negative commentary on the first night of the games.
In the team competition, one skater from all four disciplines (men’s, women’s, pairs and ice-dancing) participate, with the best score for each being awarded 10 points, second-place 9 points, and so on. The scores are then added, and the five countries with the highest score repeat the process for the free program, with the top finishers medaling based on cumulative score from there.
The U.S. won bronze in Sochi 2014.
“I think I was a little bit in my head,” Chen said after his performance. “I apologize to Team USA. I’m going to have to readjust ahead of the individual event.”
One reporter noted how nervous Chen seemed on Thursday:
Olympic pressure is unlike anything else these skaters have faced. Nathan Chen looked very nervous out there.
— Christine Brennan (@cbrennansports) February 9, 2018
— NBC Olympics (@NBCOlympics) February 9, 2018
See the highlights of Chen’s performance and those of other skaters here: