Karen Chen has waited a long time – it’s especially felt long over the past two weeks – to make her Olympic debut. She spent several days away from the Athletes’ Village training off-site, but came back to watch her teammates in the men’s and pairs’ events.
“I was really emotional, they all put out such great performances and it was so inspiring to see them go out there,” Chen said of the men’s event in a recent press conference from PyeongChang.
“It was definitely tough [not having skated in the Games yet] but I was cheering for team USA the whole time,” she continued. “Thankfully I was able to get away from the Village. I got a lot of great training and was able to focus on my skating. But I definitely took the time to watch the men’s short program, the pairs, so it was all very exciting.”
The 2017 U.S. national champion has a close relationship with 1992 Olympic gold medalist Kristi Yamaguchi. They share the same hometown of Fremont, Calif. and Chen was able to connect with her in a coffee shop before departing for PyeongChang.
“I am thankful to say that our relationship has prospered and progressed,” Chen said. “I was able to talk to her before the nationals. We just talked and she shared her experiences and all the fun time she had at the Olympics to really hype me up. I am forever grateful to Kristi.”