From being a tiny prodigy who was a novice national champion, to junior, senior, and now Olympic champion, Nathan Chen has proved his relentless commitment to figure skating. That perseverance never wavered, even after his first Olympics didn’t go as he’d hoped. He trained for another four years and showed the world just how fierce a competitor he is.

Nathan was 2 years old when I competed in 2002 at the Salt Lake City Olympics. I saw the picture of him there as a toddler, and was moved to hear he looked to me as a role model as a Chinese American skater. I know how powerful that can be.

Victor Llorente for TIME

But Nathan is an inspiration in his own right. He has forever changed men’s figure skating, setting new standards with his quadruple jumps. It won’t be long before we hear athletes say they looked up to Nathan Chen. He’ll inspire generations of skaters to come who will hear his Olympic story and learn that nothing is impossible.

Kwan is a two-time Olympic medalist and a five-time world-champion figure skater

More Must-Reads from TIME

Contact us at

Simu Liu
Tim Cook
Mary J. Blige
Candace Parker
Volodymyr Zelensky
5 stories