Olympic Figure Skater Reveals Receiving ‘Impactful’ Message From Serena Williams During Hard Times

Published 10/19/2021, 7:00 AM EDT
ABU DHABI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES – DECEMBER 30: Serena Williams of United States smiles during her Ladies Final match against Jelena Ostapenko of Latvia on day three of the Mubadala World Tennis Championship at International Tennis Centre Zayed Sports City on December 30, 2017 in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. (Photo by Tom Dulat/Getty Images)


Nathan Wei Chen is an American figure skater and a three-time World Champion. He also has an Olympic bronze medal from the team event at the Winter Olympics 2018. At the same tournament, Chen did not perform up to his expectations in the individual event which left him feeling underwhelmed. During that low point in his career, Chen received assistance from, arguably, the greatest tennis player of all time, Serena Williams. He talked about what Serena’s words meant to the then 18-year-old.

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Chen said after finishing fifth in PyeongChang, 2018, Serena Williams reached out to him. Chen also confessed that receiving encouraging messages from her during that difficult time substantially boosted his self-confidence.

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‘Huge thing for me’ Nathan Chen on messages of support from Serena Williams

After a below-par performance by Nathan at PyeongChang 2018, Williams supported her fellow American by making her support known. Chen highlighted the impact that the words of the legendary Williams, a huge ‘role model’, had on him.

SAN JOSE, CALIFORNIA – FEBRUARY 22: Serena Williams
speaks on stage during keynote conversation at 2019 Watermark Conference for Women Silicon Valley at San Jose McEnery Convention Center on February 22, 2019 in San Jose, California. (Photo by Marla Aufmuth/WireImage)

Chen said, “It was a huge thing for me. She messaged me after the last Olympics, in 2018, when I didn’t have the best skate. She was voicing her support for me. It was really, really impactful and meaningful to me… It was really amazing for me to have her reach out (to me).”

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At this year’s Olympics, the American gymnast, Simone Biles withdrew from some events because of mental health issues. The GOAT gymnast received support from fans and athletes across the world for her courageous decision. Amidst her backers was Chen, who was repaying the support that Serena had provided to him.

Biles’ decision was commendable as it provided not only fans but also athletes, with the motivation to put their mental health first. Chen said, “I think what Simone did at the last Olympics was extraordinarily inspirational and really just allowed all athletes to feel like, ‘Hey, we are important as people, not just as athletes'”. 

Not to repeat an adage, but evidently, good deeds really do go a long way. Serena’s kindness and empathy towards Nathan during his period of crisis translated into his support for Biles when she needed it.

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Atri Bhatt

360 articles

Atri Bhatt is a Tennis author at EssentiallySports. He is pursuing his Master's degree in Sports Management from Deakin University, Australia. In addition to critically analysing the game, he also plays tennis professionally.

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