Unearthed video shows arch-rivals Yuzuru Hanyu and Nathan Chen training together

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The Japanese Yuzuru Hanyu and the American Nathan Chen are currently the biggest competitors in the men’s singles. The two men maintain a respectful but intense rivalry, vying for gold in every event they encounter. Although we’ve seen them interact in various settings, there are rare images of the two skaters training together.

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During the 2016 NHK Trophy free program, Japanese broadcaster NHKBS1 aired footage of Chen and Hanyu warming up backstage.

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The rivalry between Yuzuru Hanyu and Nathan Chen

Where Hanyu has been competing since 2010, Chen only made his senior debut in the 2016-17 season. Yuzuru Hanyu had already established himself as an Olympic champion, world champion and three-time Grand Prix champion before Chen came onto the scene.

With Spaniard Javier Fernandez retiring after the 2018 Pyeongchang Olympics, Hanyu had lost his rival and skating mate. But with Nathan Chen gaining experience in the senior division, Hanyu had no time to breathe with a new challenger on the horizon.

The 2016 NHK Trophy was their first-ever showdown, where Hanyu won gold and Chen settled for silver. Both men also maintained their rankings in the final, with Hanyu winning his 4th consecutive Grand Prix title. Since then, the duo have been popular in the media as rivals vying for the top spot.

Chen has often referred to Hanyu as an inspiration and the GOAT of figure skating, with the two displaying incredible sportsmanship.

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Chen’s journey to Olympic gold

Early in his senior career, Chen struggled to beat Hanyu. As Hanyu won the 2017 world title as well as his second gold medal at the Pyeongchang Olympics, Chen gradually found his place on the world stage, even winning the four continents title in 2017.

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Meanwhile, the media dubbed Chen the Quad King for his formidable ability to consistently perform quadruple jumps. Chen performed a six-quad free program in Pyeongchang to make up for a short program blunder and moved from 17th to 4th place.

Beijing 2022 Olympic Games – Figure Skating – Men’s Single Skating – Free Skating – Capital Indoor Stadium, Beijing, China – February 10, 2022. Gold medalist Nathan Chen of the United States, silver medalist Yuma Kagiyama of the Japan and bronze medalist Shoma Uno of Japan pose on the podium.

After that, Chen started winning competitions left and right. He arrived in Beijing with three world titles and three Grand Prix titles to his name. Chen has won gold in every competition since 2017 other than Pyeongchang and Skate America 2021.

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At the 2022 Winter Olympics, Chen won Olympic gold, while Hanyu placed fourth after falling on a quad in his short program. The two skaters will now perform in ice shows in May, with Chen taking part in the “Stars on Ice” tour while Hanyu will be part of “Fantasy on Ice”.

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