If there were any doubt, star U.S. figure skater Nathan Chen made the statement on the ice with emphasis: That was then, and this is now.
The 22-year-old scored a world record 113.97 in the short program Tuesday at the Beijing Winter Games, in a performance that included a quad flip, a triple axel and a quad lutz-triple toeloop combo.
It was a far cry from his disappointing performance at the 2018 PyeongChang Olympics.
“I’m just elated,” Chen told NBC’s Andrea Joyce after the skate.
“Last Olympics, both short programs didn’t go the way that I wanted, and finally getting the opportunity to skate the program to the way that I wanted — it feels really great, it means a lot,” he said.
The record beats the previous one set by two-time defending gold medalist Yuzuru Hanyu of Japan, who had a rough start to Tuesday’s performance. Hanyu’s first jump was supposed to be a quadruple salchow, but he essentially performed single salchow instead, NBC Olympics reported.
Japan's Yuma Kagiyama was in second place behind Chen on Tuesday, and fellow Japanese skater Shoma Uno came in third.
Chen, of Salt Lake City, Utah, already had an impressive performance Friday. He scored the second-highest short program score in a team event, with 111.71 points, and helped the U.S. team win silver.
In PyeongChang, he placed fourth in the team event’s short program and later placed 17th in the singles competition’s short program.
Now, a strong free skate Thursday could make Chen an Olympic champion. Team USA tweeted "redemption" in all capital letters after Tuesday's stellar performance.
Chen, who has said he was "just here to have fun," said after Tuesday's event that he is thankful for every chance.
"Every opportunity that I get at competitions is one that I should be grateful for — and especially the Olympics, that’s a completely different story," Chen said. "I’m just really happy to be here."