BEIJING (Reuters) – Nathan Chen’s world record short programme in the Olympic figure skating was no surprise for his long-standing coach Rafael Arutyunyan but the emotion of the moment brought a tear to his eye, the Armenian American said on Wednesday.
Chen’s stunning 113.97-point skate put the world champion in the gold medal position ahead of Thursday’s free programme, where he will hope to claim the title four years after crashing out at the Pyeongchang Olympics.
“During the programme I was calm,” Arutyunyan, who has coached Chen since he was 11, told reporters after practice in Beijing.
“You should see (the) tape, I was standing there (and) basically I didn’t even move.
“I was watching. Just a little bit I had tears in my eyes but it’s emotional. It was a long journey.”
Since Pyeongchang, where Chen finished fifth after an error-strewn short programme, the 22-year-old American has been unstoppable.
He won all three world championships as part of a 14-event winning streak only broken at Skate America in October.
Chen appeared in good form at practice on Wednesday, where he landed a slew of silky quadruple jumps.
Arutyunyan, who was born in Soviet-era Georgia and coached in Russia before moving to the United States over 20 years ago, said Chen was used to being in first place in competitions and nothing would change in his preparations.
“You never change course before you go into some difficult trip,” he said.
(Writing by Ian Ransom; Editing by Ed Osmond)