The 2022 Winter Olympics are well underway, and audiences have been riveted by the remarkable skill displayed by athletes from around the world (even when they’re wearing tape on their faces). Figure skating fans in particular have been treated to astounding feats of finesse from various performers, including Nahan Chen. The American competitor just won the gold medal for his free skate set to “Rocket Man,” and it caught the attention of none other than the legend himself, Elton John, who just had to send a supportive message.
American figure skater Nathan Chen took the top prize for the men’s free skate last Thursday. His vibrant performance was set to a medley of Elton John songs, including “Bennie and the Jets” and, most notably, “Rocket Man.” The English pop icon clearly enjoyed this rendition more than he enjoyed The Lion King remake, and took to Twitter to congratulate him. Take a peek below:
Congratulations @nathanwchen for winning Gold skating to Rocket Man in the free skate finals in Beijing 🥇 pic.twitter.com/c9C2Kc3ztiFebruary 10, 2022
Nathan Chen’s free skate capitalized on every moment of “Rocket Man,” with stand-out instances like a mid-air quad turn that perfectly punctuated the song’s build-up to the bridge. He then decided to bust a move to the remixed version of “Bennie and the Jets” from the film Rocketman, a track that features the pop singer P!nk and the rapper Logic. He’s just one of the many figure skaters beginning to incorporate popular music into their routines, as opposed to traditional instrumentals, from symphonies and films like Star Wars; other featured tunes included Daft Punk’s “Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger” and Janet Jackson’s “Rhythm Nation.”
In addition to garnering the praise of Elton John, Nathan Chen’s free skate propelled him straight to the top of the podium. After scoring a record-breaking 113.97 on his short program, Nathan Chen’s Elton John medley won him a stunning 218.63 points for a final tally of 332.60. He won the gold by a fairly large margin, with silver medalist Yuma Kagiyama scoring 310.05 and bronze medalist Shoma Uno (both from Japan) scoring 293.00.
It’s a satisfying turn of events for Nathan Chen, who previously competed at the 2018 Olympics in Pyeongchang. His results were less than stellar, despite the fact that he was a favorite for the gold medal. Refusing to be cowed by a short tenure in fifth place, the figure skater brushed himself off, stepped up his game, and became unbeatable over the next four years. It all led to this moment, where he snagged the proverbial crown in Beijing. In the words of Elton John, it was a “long, long time” – but Nathan Chen finally made it to the moon.
The 2022 Winter Olympic Games are now airing on NBC. Schedules tend to vary, so be sure to check out how you can stream the event. In addition to airing on regular cable, the Olympics are available to watch on Peacock Premium. Already caught up? Preview these new TV premiere dates set to roll out in 2022.