It was a tale of two Olympics for a pair of California ice skaters: One soared, breaking a historic record, the other stumbled, knocking himself out of the running.
Palo Alto’s Vincent Zhou on Friday became the first athlete to land a quadruple lutz in an Olympic competition. The history-making jump led to a 12th-place finish with the possibility of more to come.
“Every single day, just intensity and ambition and lots of stress I put on myself and what other people put on me,” Zhou told the Mercury News before his big moment. “I tried to live the moment and enjoy and I did just that. I committed to all my jumps.”
But Los Angeles-based, two-time U.S. champion Nathan Chen struggled on three jumps in the men’s figure skating short program — including an opening fall on a quadruple flip.
Specifically, he fell on his opening quad lutz, stumbled out of a triple axel and did not complete two jumps in combination, which is required, the New York Times reported.
The Mercury News, and other media outlets, reports the teenage has been unable to handle the emotions of the Olympics.
Chen scored 21.85 points below his season best to finish the short program poorly a week after stumbling through the same routine in the team event. He has all but been knocked out of medal contention.
In January, Chen won his second consecutive U.S Figure Skating Championship, which was held in San Jose, finishing his season undefeated.
But on Friday, the 18-year-old fell behind American teammates Adam Rippon ( seventh place) and Zhou.
Chen told the Mercury News: “Honestly, it was bad,” he said. “I made as many mistakes as I possibly could have.”