On the trail with gold medalist Nathan Chen

We recently caught up with Olympic gold medal figure skater Nathan Chen while hiking at Quail Hill. Chen, who trains at the Great Park Ice Arena with the U.S. National Team, gives high marks to the restorative powers of Irvine’s open spaces.

Do you like getting out in nature?

I spend most of my days in the rink, so whenever I get the opportunity to go out into nature and get some sunlight, I do. Sunlight is good for recovery and just to be healthy.

Why Quail Hill?

Here at Quail Hill, you get a great sense of how grand Irvine is and just how much open space it has.

As a world traveler, how do you rate Irvine’s open space?

It’s amazing that one-third of the city is preserved as open space. It gives us the opportunity to have awesome leisure days and do a lot of hikes with beautiful views.

How did it feel winning the gold medal?

It meant the world to me because so many people helped me on my journey, from my parents to my coaches, and the list goes on. This medal would not have been possible without all their help.

Where do you and your teammates go for a pick‑me-up?

We go to Blk Dot Coffee at the Spectrum Center a lot. And then there’s the SomiSomi, the ice cream place. That’s pretty good.

But that’s a lot of calories!

I mean, we burn it quickly.

What’s next for you?

In May, I’ll join the ‘Stars On Ice’ tour for a few months with most of the U.S. Olympic team. Then I head back to school. I have two more years at Yale. My major is statistics and data science.

Nathan Chen, who trains at Great Park Ice arena in Irvine, won the men’s figure skating gold medal at the 2022 Winter Olympics.

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