The bulk of the work is done.
Now the fun begins, suggests newly crowned Olympic gold medalist in men’s figure skating Nathan Chen.
The Utah native, in his only Pittsburgh Market interview, references heading to the 2022 U.S. Figure Skating Team at PPG Paints Arena on Sunday for a just-for-fun program.
It is billed as the most decorated group of American figure skaters in the past two decades.
“Stars on Ice is a celebration of all the hard work of the cast,” he explained.
“It is a joy to be able to perform alongside athletes that we have all known for a long time and who have been inspired by all our careers.
“We really are a family and this show demonstrates that. Stars on Ice is really fun and we hope the public can see our joy.
That’s why Sunday’s show is more than just a Mother’s Day gift, but a gift for anyone who loves this one-of-a-kind sport.
This does not surprise Chen.
He believes the continued appeal of figure skating is the fact that “it’s sport and art combined and it’s such a unique way to package the two.”
He certainly proved it when he mesmerized the world in February with his dominating Olympic performance in Beijing.
“You can’t even imagine what it feels like. It’s amazing to have this opportunity,” Chen said at the time. He “absolutely” fulfilled his dreams of winning gold, he said.
After being unable to fulfill those dreams at previous Olympics, where he said he “discovered myself,” he was enjoying having a second chance.
It’s been a long journey to those dreams, he added, and it’s allowed him to “rethink the people who helped me” achieve them. At the top of that list is his mother, he said, who was repeatedly his driver, coach and biggest fan.
Sunday fans will have plenty of reasons to cheer on Chen and Team USA, along with the simple fact that after two seasons without skating due to the pandemic, live skating is back.
In addition to 2022 Olympic gold and silver medalist, three-time world champion and six-time and defending US champion Chen, the roster includes four-time 2022 Olympic silver and bronze medalists world and three-time US champions Madison Hubbell and Zachary Donohue; 2022 Olympic silver medalists, 2022 world champions and US champions Alexa Knierim and Brandon Frazier; Madison Chock and Evan Bates, 2022 Olympic silver medalists, three-time world medalists and three-time reigning US champions; Vincent Zhou, 2022 Olympic silver medalist, two-time world medalist and three-time American silver medalist; and 2022 Olympic silver medalist and US champion Karen Chen.
One of the goals of Stars on Ice, founded in 1986 by skating icon Scott Hamilton, is to provide figure skating fans with a unique theatrical platform to enjoy skating.
One element that will appeal to audiences is the group numbers, featuring the entire cast skating together to a musical mix in themed costumes. This year’s finale will be a mix of Elton John with costumes representing 25 different Elton John looks over the years.
Nathan Chen skated to gold with John’s “Rocket Man” at the Olympics, which drew a congratulatory tweet from Elton John himself.
As for Nathan Chen’s future, he says, “This sport is so unique for every skater. There is always room for improvement and growth. I plan to go back to college and then decide my future from there.
Tickets for the 2022 Stars on Ice Tour are on sale now. Tickets start at $30 and are available at www.starson ice.com, www.ticketmaster.com and at Dick’s Sporting Goods Box Office at PPG Paints Arena. A limited number of ice seats are available upon request. Group discounts are available for groups of 10 or more.
Rex Rutkoski is a seasoned regional, national and international freelance writer and former WDVE-FM talk show host, based in the Pittsburgh suburb of Freeport, Armstrong County. He can be reached at rexrutkos [email protected]