In this exhilarating memoir, three-time World Champion and Olympic gold-medalist Nathan Chen tells the story of his remarkable journey to success, reflecting on his life as a Chinese American figure skater and the joys and challenges he has experienced—including the tremendous sacrifices he and his family made, and the physical and emotional pain he endured.
When three-year-old Nathan Chen tried on his first pair of figure skates, magic happened. But the odds of this young boy—one of five children born to Chinese immigrants—competing and making it into the top echelons of figure skating were daunting. Chen’s family didn’t have the resources or access to pay for expensive coaches, rink time, and equipment. But Nathan’s mother, Hetty Wang, refused to fail her child. Recognizing his tremendous talent and passion, she stepped up as his coach, making enormous sacrifices to give Nathan the opportunity to compete in this exclusive world.
That dedication eventually paid off at the 2022 Olympic Games in Beijing, where Chen—reverently known as the “Quad King”—won gold, becoming the first Asian-American man to stand at the highest podium in figure skating. In this moving and inspiring memoir Chen opens up for the first time, chronicling everything it took to pursue his dreams. Bolstered by his unwavering passion and his family’s unconditional support, Chen reveals the most difficult times he endured, and how he overcame each obstacle–from his disappointment at the 2018 Olympic Games, to competing during a global pandemic, to the extreme physical and mental toll the sport demands.
Pulling back the curtain on the figure skating world and the Olympics, Chen reveals what it was really like at the Beijing Games and competing on the US team in the same city his parents had left—and his grandmother still lived. Poignant and unfiltered, told in his own words, One Jump at a Time is the story of one extraordinary young man—and a testament to the love of a family and the power of persistence, grit, and passion.
This memoir includes 16 pages of color photographs.
The world of figure skating dazzles in this restrained debut from Olympic gold medalist Chen. Raised in Salt Lake City in the late 1990s as the youngest son of Chinese immigrants, Chen developed a love of skating early, and, to help nurture his talent, his mother moved to California with 12-year-old Chen so that he could train with a prestigious coach. A few years after he started skating, Chen began winning trophies at local events, and at 10 years old he won his first novice championship in 2010. But the path to becoming a world-class athlete had its difficulties. He suffered the occasional injury—he had a hip avulsion fracture after the 2017 World Championships and needed surgery—but Chen's determination matched his advancing skills: "Things were getting harder, but everything I had already put into skating would be wasted if I quit." In 2022, he won gold at the Winter Olympics in Beijing. Chen's fierce appreciation of his mother shines ("Without her, I wouldn't have been disciplined enough to push myself when every part of me wanted to stop"), but he doesn't examine his life off the ice, which keeps Chen at a distance from readers. Still, skating fans will relish Chen's behind-the-scenes knowledge.