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Nathan Chen likely to take break from figure skating after 2022 Olympics

Nathan Chen

LAS VEGAS, NEVADA - OCTOBER 24: Nathan Chen skates in the Men’s Free Skate during the ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating at Orleans Arena October 24, 2020 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Matthew Stockman - International Skating Union/International Skating Union via Getty Images)

International Skating Union via

Nathan Chen will likely take at least one year off from competitive figure skating after the 2022 Olympics to complete his education at Yale. If and when he returns to the sport hasn’t been decided.

“I think it will be highly determined by how I feel after ’22,” Chen said about retirement, according to U.S. Figure Skating. “Do I still have the drive? I feel like if I don’t have the drive anymore, then there’s no point. It’ll really depend. As of now, definitely the plan is to go back to school, and even then, probably take one or two years off skating for sure, and then reevaluate.”

Chen, undefeated since placing fifth at the PyeongChang Olympics, has competed every year since 2003, when he turned 4 years old.

He skated the previous two seasons while taking classes at Yale. Chen, a statistics and data science major, planned to stay in New Haven for this academic year, but the pandemic changed that.

Instead, he’s been at his California training base on a leave of absence, auditing classes at local universities, he said before winning a fourth straight Skate America title in October.

Yale usually only allows two semesters of leave without having to reapply, but added another year due to the pandemic, Chen said. That allows him to focus on skating from now through the Beijing Winter Games.

If that marks his final Olympic appearance, it would not be unusual. Todd Eldredge is the only U.S. singles skater to compete in three Olympics in the last 25 years.

Chen is expected to go for a fifth straight national title next month -- most for a man since Dick Button‘s seven straight from 1946-52. Then, a potential showdown with two-time Olympic champion Yuzuru Hanyu at March’s world championships.

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