Nathan Chen showed incredible mental fortitude throughout the 2018 Winter Olympics. In the team event, he contributed his short program, but stumbled. Team USA was able to clinch a bronze medal with the rest of the performances, but many wondered how Chen would rebound for his individual competition.
He dug himself into a hole, down in 17th place, after struggling in his short program. But his free skate will go down in history. He beat the rest of the field in the free skate by 8.91 points, became the first man ever to land five clean quads in an Olympic free skate (though he attempted six) and rallied for a fifth place overall finish.
All of that can take an emotional, physical and mental toll on an 18-year-old with a bevy of corporate sponsors making his Olympic debut. Chen stayed off social media for the majority of his Olympic experience, except for writing:
“These past two weeks have been the biggest emotional rollercoaster of my life. I began this competition with the two worst short programs of my competitive career. I couldn't believe what happened, and my confidence completely dissipated. If not for the hundreds of messages of support from all of you I never would've been able to bounce back and lay down the long I did here. Truly thank you all so much for the support and love.”
Chen added that his bronze medal-winning teammates in the team event were “incredible.”
“Also, thank you to every member of this INCREDIBLE team for backing me up and letting me leave this place with some hardware??”