Nathan Chen plans to attend Yale, continue figure skating career

AP
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Nathan Chen‘s goal is to attend Yale beginning in August and compete in the fall Grand Prix series. He has until May 1 to figure out if that’s possible.

The recently crowned world champion confirmed Wednesday he was accepted to the Ivy League university among the six or seven schools to which he applied. Chen, 18, said he has until May 1 to decide if he will enroll in classes next semester, or he could lose his spot.

Chen is a native of Salt Lake City and lives and trains in Southern California. He has never been to the Yale campus in New Haven, Conn., but wants to make a long-distance student-coach relationship work with Rafael Arutyunyan beginning this summer.

He preferred Yale to other schools — including two safety nets in Northern California — in part because both he and the university want to work together to allow him to take classes and continue competing.

“First of all, it’s Yale,” Chen said from Florida, where is training for the Stars on Ice tour. “It’s a school that I’ve wanted to go to for a very long time, so that really in itself stands out to me. You know, the elite level of the school. Also, Yale seems like they would like to collaborate the best with me and try to figure out the best approach for me to work with both school and follow my skating dreams.”

Classes start Aug. 29. Fortunately for Chen, Yale has breaks from classes during the weeks of Skate America in October and the Grand Prix in France in November. The Grand Prix Final in Vancouver in December starts on the last two days of classes before a weeklong break ahead of final exams.

Chen said he does not know what he will do if he cannot pull off the school-skating double. He could choose one or the other or try another school.

“As of now, the only two [definite] things is I’ve been admitted to Yale, and I want to continue working with Raf,” Chen said, “so we have to figure that out.”

Chen isn’t the first U.S. Olympic figure skating medalist to be accepted to Yale. That would be 2002 Olympic champion Sarah Hughes.

But while Hughes attended Yale after retiring from skating, Chen plans to take classes while continuing to compete in this Olympic cycle.

More than 100 Olympians have taken classes at Yale.

Chen, an Olympic team bronze medalist, rebounded from a fifth-place finish in PyeongChang — where he entered as arguably the favorite — by winning the world title by nearly 50 points two weeks ago to end his season.

Chen said going into those worlds that he planned to continue competing next season under Arutyunyan regardless of his college choice.

He applied to “six or seven” colleges — mostly California schools, but two on the East Coast — and had not heard back from as of late last month.

“Applications were mostly just for the purpose of trying to get into the colleges,” Chen said three weeks ago. “Once I hear back from them, I’ll figure out logistics and see how I’ll balance them both [school and skating].”

While Chen figures everything out, he will be skating in Stars on Ice shows. NBCSN will air a Stars on Ice special on April 14 from 12:30-1:30 p.m. ET.

At Stars on Ice, Chen will participate in group and individual numbers, plus a special dance routine with Sochi Olympian and training partner Ashley Wagner alongside Olympian ice dance couples Meryl Davis and Charlie White and Madison Hubbell and Zachary Donohue.

“It really boggles my mind as we were working on it, trying to figure out steps,” Chen said. “It’s really fun to do because I’ve never done anything like it. Hopefully it will look all right on the ice.

“We’re going to be next to [Sochi gold medalists] Meryl and Charlie, so I’m pretty sure you’ll notice the difference.”

Another headlining PyeongChang Olympian, snowboard halfpipe gold medalist Chloe Kim, tweeted last Monday that she was accepted into Princeton, but the tweet was later deleted.

Other notable Olympians to attend Yale:

Eddie Eagan (1920, 1924, 1932) — Only person to win a gold medal at the Summer Games in a summer sport and a Winter Games in a winter sport.
Bill Steinkraus (1952, 1956, 1960, 1968, 1972) — Four equestrian medals.
Don Schollander (1964, 1968) — First swimmer to win four golds at one Olympics.
Frank Shorter (1972, 1976) — Munich 1972 marathon champion.
Mike Richter (1988, 1998, 2002) — Only U.S. goalie to play in three Olympics.
Sarah Hughes (2002) — Figure skating gold medalist.
Sada Jacobson (2004, 2008) — Three medals in sabre fencing.

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MORE: Five takeaways from figure skating worlds

 

Mikaela Shiffrin heads to world championships with medal records in sight

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Before Mikaela Shiffrin can hold the World Cup wins record, she can become the most decorated Alpine skier in modern world championships history.

Shiffrin takes a respite from World Cup pursuits for the biennial world championships in France. She is expected to race at least four times, beginning with Monday’s combined.

Shiffrin has a tour-leading 11 World Cup victories in 23 starts this season, her best since her record 17-win 2018-19 campaign, but world championships do not count toward the World Cup.

Shiffrin remains one career victory behind Swede Ingemar Stenmark‘s record 86 World Cup wins until at least her next World Cup start in March.

Shiffrin has been more successful at worlds than at the Olympics and even on the World Cup. She has 11 medals in 13 world championships races dating to her 2013 debut, including making the podium in each of her last 10 events.

ALPINE SKIING WORLDS: Broadcast Schedule

She enters worlds one shy of the modern, post-World War II individual records for total medals (Norway’s Kjetil Andre Aamodt won 12) and gold medals (Austrian Toni Sailer, Frenchwoman Marielle Goitschel and Swede Anja Pärson won seven).

Worlds take place exactly one year after Shiffrin missed the medals in all of her Olympic races, but that’s not motivating her.

“If I learned anything last year, it’s that these big events, they can go amazing, and they can go terrible, and you’re going to survive no matter what,” she said after her most recent World Cup last Sunday. “So I kind of don’t care.”

Shiffrin ranks No. 1 in the world this season in the giant slalom (Feb. 16 at worlds) and slalom (Feb. 18).

This year’s combined is one run of super-G coupled with one run of slalom (rather than one downhill and one slalom), which also plays to her strengths. She won that event, with that format, at the last worlds in 2021. The combined isn’t contested on the World Cup, so it’s harder to project favorites.

Shiffrin is also a medal contender in the super-G (Feb. 8), despite starting just two of five World Cup super-Gs this season (winning one of them).

She is not planning to race the downhill (Feb. 11), which she often skips on the World Cup and has never contested at a worlds. Nor is she expected for the individual parallel (Feb. 15), a discipline she hasn’t raced in three years in part due to the strain it puts on her back with the format being several runs for the medalists.

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Lucas Braathen, world’s top male slalom skier, in doubt for world championships

Lucas Braathen
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Norway’s Lucas Braathen, the world’s top male slalom skier this season, is doubtful to compete in the world championships slalom on Feb. 19 after appendix surgery on Tuesday.

“It’s been a tough couple of days fighting after surprisingly finding out about quite an intense infection on my appendix,” Braathen, a 22-year-old soccer convert with a Brazilian mom, posted on social media. “I’ve been through surgery and I’m blessed that it went successfully.”

The Norway Alpine skiing team doctor said Braathen’s recovery will take a few weeks, but there is a small possibility he can make it back for the world championships slalom, which is on the final day of the two-week competition.

Braathen has two slalom wins and one giant slalom win this World Cup season. He will miss Saturday’s slalom in Chamonix, France, the last race before worlds. Countryman Henrik Kristoffersen and Swiss Daniel Yule can overtake him atop the World Cup slalom standings in Chamonix.

Braathen entered last year’s Olympics as the World Cup slalom leader and skied out in the first run at the Games.

ALPINE SKIING WORLDS: Broadcast Schedule

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