Chen talked challenge of Olympic gold pursuit with Lysacek

Jan 4, 2022, 7:33 PM | Updated: Jan 5, 2022, 9:34 am
FILE - Nathan Chen performs during the men's short program at the U.S. Figure Skating Championships...

FILE - Nathan Chen performs during the men's short program at the U.S. Figure Skating Championships in San Jose, Calif., Jan. 4, 2018. Chen, who goes for his sixth consecutive national championship this week at what amounts to the Olympic trials for next month's Beijing Games, has spoken with 2010 gold medalist Evan Lysacek about the path to the top of the podium. Lysacek won in Vancouver with an unmatched artistic program even though he never had the jumps Chen has. Nowadays, every elite male skater has those jumps, led by Chen and his mastery of the quad. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez, File)

(AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez, File)

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Nathan Chen already is one of America’s most accomplished figure skaters. That doesn’t mean he wouldn’t take advice from a predecessor.

Chen, who goes for his sixth consecutive national championship this week at what amounts to the Olympic trials for next month’s Beijing Games, has spoken with 2010 gold medalist Evan Lysacek about the path to the top of the podium.

Lysacek won in Vancouver with an unmatched artistic program even though he never had the jumps Chen has. Nowadays, every elite male skater has those jumps, led by Chen and his mastery of the quad.

But Chen understands that heading to and then on the Olympic ice, everything must come together. That didn’t happen for him in 2018, when an awful short program — probably the worst performance of his career — plummeted him so deep in the standings that winning the free skate, which he did, couldn’t lift him onto the podium.

Asked whether he had spoken with any of the past U.S. champions, Chen mentioned Lysacek.

“There hasn’t been really an in-depth conversation, I think the closest I have had was just being able to spend a little bit of time over the past year seeing Evan,” he said. “He visited the rink a few times and he previously worked with Raf (Arutunian, his coach), so they have a really good relationship.

“Conversations were pretty brief, but just sharing some of the worries or things I have sort of dealt with over the past few years, kind of similar things he has dealt with. Kind of framing perspectives around the Olympics and how although it is an extremely meaningful event, at the end of the day, whether you win, whether you lose, you are still going to go home and see your same friends and families; still do the same activities. One moment is not going to define the rest of your life in regards to the Games or even just in the sport.”

Chen went on a nearly unprecedented streak of success following the Pyeongchang Games. He won every competition until Skate America in October as the buildup to Beijing began. A third place there was followed by — yep — another victory, at Skate Canada.

Chen might not be a lock for another U.S. title; he lost to Vincent Zhou at Skate America. But he certainly is a cinch to make the Olympic squad no matter how he performs.

And given his track record, Chen will perform spectacularly this week.

“I have had a pretty long stint of training from Skate Canada till now, but looking forward to competing again,” he said. “Of course, the (Grand Prix) finals being canceled was unfortunate, but ultimately the safety and health of everyone is the most important thing. The decision was completely understandable and the right one.

“I’ve been playing around with different layouts and different programs I have done. In Nashville my content will be seen there and I’m looking forward to that.”

The figure skating world also is looking forward to a showdown in China between Chen and the strong Japanese skaters, led by two-time Olympic champ Yuzuru Hanyu. Although he has been plagued by injuries in recent years, Hanyu made his first appearance of this season in sensational fashion, winning his national title. Indeed, he attempted but did not fully rotate a quadruple axel, which involves 4 1/2 rotations and never has been done in competition.

Chen makes a habit of watching his competition. Not to scout, but for enjoyment.

“It is good to be able to watch skating,” he said. “Even if I wasn’t competing I would still want to watch. It will be exciting to see how everyone is doing. Will that really impact how I plan? Probably not. But it is still useful, I think, to sort of have an understanding of where everybody is at. But more than anything, skating is fun to watch, so I will be watching for that reason.”

American skating fans will be watching closely, too.

___

More AP sports: https://apnews.com/hub/apf-sports and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

Arizona Coyotes forward Barrett Hayton, left, collides with Anaheim Ducks defenseman John Klingberg...
Associated Press

Drop the puck: What to know about the 2022-23 NHL season

The NHL is back to normal with the regular season stretching from October through the middle of April before the two-month thrill ride that is the chase for the Stanley Cup. Over that time, teams are scheduled to play a total of 1,312 games over 189 days, starting with Nashville and San Jose facing off […]
1 day ago
Phoenix Suns center Deandre Ayton (22) and Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James (6) battle for t...
Associated Press

LeBron in Vegas? He makes an expansion pitch to Adam Silver

LAS VEGAS (AP) — LeBron James came to Las Vegas for a preseason game. And a pitch. James, who has spoken in the past about wanting to eventually own an NBA franchise — with Las Vegas on his mind — sent a crystal-clear message to Commissioner Adam Silver on Wednesday night, reminding him of his […]
1 day ago
FILE - Dallas Stars' Jason Robertson skates during the third period of an NHL hockey game against t...
Associated Press

Stars sign 41-goal scorer Robertson to $31M, 4-year deal

FRISCO, Texas (AP) — Jason Robertson has signed a $31 million, four-year contract with the Dallas Stars after the young 40-goal scorer missed the first two weeks of training camp. The Stars announced the deal late Wednesday night, after their exhibition game in Denver, only a week before the regular season opener Oct. 13 at […]
1 day ago
The ski slopes are almost devoid of snow at the Tūroa ski field, on Mt. Ruapehu, New Zealand on Se...
Associated Press

Missing snow puts famed New Zealand ski areas on precipice

TUROA SKI AREA, New Zealand (AP) — New Zealand’s Turoa ski area is usually a white wonderland at this time of year, its deep snowpack supporting its famed spring skiing. This season, it’s largely a barren moonscape, with tiny patches of snow poking out between vast fields of jagged volcanic boulders. The ski area was […]
1 day ago
FILE - Kansas City Royals pitching coach Cal Eldred in the seventh inning of a baseball game, May 1...
Associated Press

Royals fire manager Mike Matheny after 65-97 end to season

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Manager Mike Matheny and pitching coach Cal Eldred were fired by the Kansas Cty Royals on Wednesday night, shortly after the struggling franchise finished the season 65-97 with a listless 9-2 loss to the Cleveland Guardians. The Royals had exercised their option on Matheny’s contract for 2023 during spring training, […]
1 day ago
Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James (6) blocks a shot by Phoenix Suns forward Mikal Bridges (25...
Associated Press

James scores 23 points, but not enough as Suns defeat Lakers

LAS VEGAS (AP) — LeBron James flashed his midseason form Wednesday night, scoring 23 points in 18 minutes before the Phoenix Suns beat the Los Angeles Lakers 112-115. James, who missed all seven of his shots in Los Angeles’ loss to Sacramento on Monday, was much more aggressive with the Lakers playing without Anthony Davis. […]
1 day ago
Chen talked challenge of Olympic gold pursuit with Lysacek