Nathan Chen v Yuzuru Hanyu: the rivalry that has taken over figure skating

The US skater beat the Olympic champion in his own backyard this week. It looks like a rivalry set to explode at the 2022 Winter Games

The question, inevitably, on the Yale campus this week as classes resumed was: “What did you get up to over spring break?” No one had an answer quite like Nathan Chen’s.

The American figure skater – and Yale freshman – traveled to Tokyo last week to capture his second consecutive world championship, this time triumphing over two-time Olympic gold medalist and Japanese hero Yuzuru Hanyu on home turf. While it’s not Chen’s first win over Hanyu, it is his biggest (Hanyu missed the worlds last year) and has many inside the sport believing that this is a rivalry that could build to – and explode at – the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing.

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