The 2018 Winter Olympics will air on NBC starting Thursday, February 8 at 8:00 p.m. EST. Coverage of the games begins with the men’s short program in figure skating, which determines who will advance to the free skate (only 24 of the 30 competitors will move forward). During the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia, the figure skating competitions were the most-watched event according to Forbes, with a viewership of 93 million.
Read on to learn more about the U.S. Singles Men’s Team.
Hometown: Salt Lake City, Utah
Coach: Rafael Arutyunyan
Chen made history at the 2018 U.S. Figure Skating Championships as the first male figure skater in the world to land five quadruple jumps in a single program. With a 40.72 lead on Ross Miner and a total score of 315.23, as The New York Times reported, Chen became the national champion — his second national title this season after winning the Grand Prix in December (by half a point, according to NBC). The 18-year-old rang in the new year as an undefeated champion and a very hopeful Olympic winner at this year’s games.
Hometown: Los Angeles, Calif.
Coach: Rafael Arutyunyan
Adam Rippon is this year’s wild card. Not only is he 10 years older than his competing teammates, he snatched the third spot on the Olympic team over Ross Miner, who placed second to Nathan Chen at the national championships, as The New York Times reported. Adam Rippon placed fourth, right behind Vincent Zhou, who also landed a spot on the Olympic team over Miner. But, as The Washington Posts notes, the decision to place Rippon on the team was almost unanimous at 11-1 from the Olympic committee. This committee based their decision on Rippon’s consistent performances at international competitions. On top of that, he is the only male figure skater to win the gold two consecutive years at the ISU World Junior Championships (he won in 2008 and 2009). Rippon also makes history as the first openly gay American figure skater to qualify for the Olympics, as reported by Rolling Stone.
Hometown: Palo Alto, Calif.
Coach(es): Tammy Gambill, Christine Krall, Tom Zakrajsek
Vincent Zhou, who just turned 17 in October, is the youngest U.S. Olympian competing in this year’s games. Zhou placed second at the national championships (behind Nathan Chen) and won the gold at the 2017 ISU World Junior Championships — the first U.S. male figure skater to do so since 2013. His teammate, Adam Rippon, won the gold consecutively in 2008 and 2009. Zhou writes poetry in his time off the ice. Samples of his work can be found on his other Instagram account — @artworkofthemind — according to NBC.