There are two Chens – Nathan Chen and Karen Chen – who feature prominently on the American Olympic team 2018, and both are figure skaters, and extremely talented skaters at that. However, are they related?
The answer is no. “National champion Nathan Chen and third place finisher Karen Chen are not brother and sister,” reports USA Today.
Nathan Chen and Karen Chen may share the last name, but they are not related to each other. However, they and Team USA have not been shy about highlighting the similarities in their backgrounds. “We come from a similar background and both our parents went through a lot to give us the opportunity to skate and help us be successful,” Nathan Chen said. “I think what Karen and I represent is everything that our parents stand for and how they raised us.”
According to Team USA, both Chens are pioneers: It’s the “first time that both singles champions at nationals were of Asian descent.” Both are Chinese-Americans.
Karen is 16-years-old, and Nathan is 18. Figure skater Kristi Yamaguchi, who is of Japanese heritage, was a role model for both skaters, Team USA says. Although Nathan is not Karen’s brother, she does have a brother who skates. His name is Jeffrey Chen, and he’s an ice dancer.
“It’s been fun to see the growth of Asian-Americans in skating,” Yamaguchi said to Team USA. “These athletes get to go and compete internationally. Being a role model for Asian-American athletes is something looking back now that I hopefully was able to do.”
According to NBC, Karen “Chen won gold at the U.S. National Championship in 2017 and was named to her first world championship team.”
Nathan Chen once landed five quadruple jumps in competition to win the United States’ title. This was an extraordinary feat. He became “the first man in international skating history to land five quadruple jumps in one 4 1/2-minute program,” The Washington Post reports.
According to The Atlantic, “The 18-year-old American is already seen as the greatest athlete in the sport’s history—and he’s competing at his first Olympics in an especially talented field.” According to the Atlantic, he first started getting attention on the ice at the incredibly young age of 10. Nathan Chen, who is from Utah, won the U.S. Novice Championship at that age, its youngest winner ever.
Nathan Chen was chosen to “skate the short program for Team USA in the figure skating team event.”
On her website, Karen Chen discusses her love for the sport. “I started skating when I was four, but I didn’t realize my love and passion for figure skating until I was six years old. My love for this sport has never died. I will continue to follow my heart and my dreams forever,” the website says.