Newly-crowned Olympic champion Nathan Chen has opened up about the “power of representation” following his victory in the figure skating.
The American grew up in Salt Lake City, Utah, with the 22-year-old’s parents both Chinese immigrants.
Chen said it “means the world” to win gold in Beijing, the city where his mother was born, and he also thanked retired figure skater Michelle Kwan for helping pave his road to glory.
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“For me growing up in Salt Lake City and having a face like Michelle Kwan was really inspirational,” Chen said.
“And I know that having athletes that look like you certainly gives you the hope that you can do the same, and Michelle Kwan certainly was that for me.
Kwan is a two-time Olympic medallist and five-time world champion, winning silver at 1998 Nagano before claiming bronze at 2002 Salt Lake City.

Watch Chen's spellbinding world record figure skating routine at Beijing 2022

Chen said he hopes to emulate Kwan in terms of proving to be an inspiration for the next generation.
He added: “If I can hopefully do something similar — of course I’ll never really reach Michelle Kwan stature, but just to be able to have someone like that when I was growing up was really powerful and that goes back to the power of representation right now.”
Per NBC, Kwan said in a message: “I was so touched to hear that from Nathan.”

Michelle Kwan of the USA displays her bronze medal in the ladies free program during the Salt Lake City Winter Olympic Games at the Salt Lake Ice Center in Salt Lake City

Image credit: Getty Images

Chen won gold after breaking the world record in the opening event before landing all five quad jumps in his routine to the songs of Elton John.
The score of 332.60 saw him add Olympic gold to his three World Championship titles.
“It’s just a whirlwind, everything is happening so fast,” Chen told NBC.
“Just so happy. It means the world. My mum was born here. It’s amazing to have this opportunity. I can’t even describe it, you can’t even imagine what it might feel like but it’s just amazing.”
Watch every moment of Olympic Winter Games Beijing 2022 on discovery+
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