Three-time world champion figure skater Nathan Chen breaks the short program record at U.S. Figure Skating Championships

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NASHVILLE, Tennessee (ABC4) – Representing the Salt Lake Figure Club, three-time world champion figure skater Nathan Chen from Bountiful, Utah has broken the short program record, which was previously set by himself, at the U.S. Figure Skating National Championships.

During the event, the announcer touted Chen’s incredible degree of skill, stating “When you think of sporting legends you think of names like Tom Brady, Michael Jordan. For our world, for our sport, Nathan Chen is our Jordan.”

Chen pulled off one of the most difficult feats in figure skating, landing a quad lutz triple toe. The lutz jump is defined as “a toe-pick assisted jump with an entrance from a back outside edge and landing on the back outside edge of the opposite foot,” by the International Skating Union. The lutz involves twisting in one direction while jumping in the other, while the toe jump is considered a more “standard” jump, using the supporting foot to help with a forward approach on the inside edge of the blade.

A quad lutz triple toe involves combining a quadruple-rotation lutz jump with a triple-rotation toe jump, making it an exceedingly difficult and respected move in figure skating.

The execution of the quad lutz triple toe alone earned Chen over 20 points.

As an indicator of just how spectacular Chen’s figure skating was, at the final moments of his performance, one of the announcers asks, “Is he superhuman? I don’t understand this.”

Chen surpassed his previous record of 114.113, which he set in 2020, with a score of 115.39 points.

The 22-year-old from Bountiful skated to music from “La Boheme,” an opera composed by Giacomo Puccini in the late 1800s. He is currently looking to win his sixth consecutive U.S. crown, something that hasn’t been done since Olympic champion Dick Button, who won seven in a row from 1946 to 1952.

Chen went on a run of 14 consecutive victories following the 2018 Olympics, showcasing his incredible consistency and athletic precision.

He is considered the favorite to take home the gold medal at the Beijing Winter Olympics in February, where he will face Olympic champion Yuzuru Hanyu from Japan.

The U.S. National Figure Skating Championships concludes today, Jan. 9 with the men’s free skate event, where Chen will be performing live at 1:35 p.m. (MT) on NBC.

To watch Chen’s record-breaking performance, click here.

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