The state of Utah declared May 18 as Nathan Chen Day to honor the Chinese American Olympic gold medalist for his significant achievements in figure skating.
The Utah Sports Commision, Utah Governor Spencer Cox and other state legislators recognized Chen, 23, for his accomplishments after he won gold at the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics in February. The figure skater was celebrated in the chamber of the state’s Capitol at 11 a.m., where he received a declaration from Cox and a ceremony in his honor. “I mean truthfully, I didn’t really think I was going to be able to make it to where I made it,” the Salt Lake City native told FOX13. “For me and I’m absolutely certain that there’s going to be many other young athletes that will be able to achieve it so long as they have the inspiration with a passion I think that’s the most important thing.”
Chen, who is currently on a “Stars on Ice” tour, performed in his hometown at the Maverick Center on May 18. Chen’s mother, Hetty Wang, and his first coach, Stephanie Grosscup, attended the event, the Olympian said. His performance that day marked his third time performing in “Stars on Ice.”
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The athlete also told FOX13 that in addition to his figure skating goals, he aims to eventually return to Yale, where he majors in statistics and data science.
“You know, my future still [sic] pretty to be decided. My next objective is to go back to school,” he was quoted as saying. “I know my journey obviously isn’t over but I’m really proud of all the things that have [sic] accomplished already and looking forward to seeing I guess what’s next.”
Chen was invited to a White House reception earlier this month to honor U.S. Olympic athletes from the 2020 Tokyo Summer Olympics and the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics, but he could not attend after testing positive for COVID-19.
In February, Chen beat his long-time rival, Japan’s “Ice Prince” Yuzuru Hanyu, in what was considered the “Battle of the Sixes,” with both figure skaters having six national titles under their belts. Earlier this week, Chen was revealed to be part of Time’s 100 Most Influential People of 2022 list, along with other celebrities such as “Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings” star Simu Liu. “Grateful to those who paved the way so that I could pursue my dreams,” Chen wrote on Instagram on Monday. “I am just floored to be included in this year’s TIME100 list, alongside incredible artists, innovators, leaders, and icons I so admire — and who I never imagined I’d see my name next to.”