Young Olympic hopeful Nathan Chen credits his success to his mom

Growing up is hard, and having Olympic aspirations can make it even harder -- but balancing school, sports and a social life was no problem for figure skater Nathan Chen. 

"[My mom] loved to keep us all super busy," the Olympic hopeful said of his childhood alongside his four siblings in Utah and California. "I did gymnastics, I played hockey, I played piano ... I did a whole bunch of different things outside of skating. It was awesome to be able to have almost a normal kid's life."

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Chen, who turned 18 in May, attended public school up until ninth grade and managed to balance his studies with his many hobbies, which also included guitar and ballet. When he and his family moved closer to Los Angeles, however, the time came for the budding athlete to make a choice.

"If I went to school, I wouldn't have been able to skate," he told AOL.com during a Team Kellogg's event. "I had to sacrifice school to an extent and I went to online school. It didn't really suit me -- I liked having a social life at school, but it did its job and allowed me to graduate while at the same time, still skating."

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Nathan Chen throughout his career
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Nathan Chen throughout his career
FUKUOKA, JAPAN - DECEMBER 05: Nathan Chen of the USA competes in the Junior Men's Short Program during day one of the ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating Final 2013/2014 at Marine Messe Fukuoka on December 5, 2013 in Fukuoka, Japan. (Photo by Chris McGrath/Getty Images)
FUKUOKA, JAPAN - DECEMBER 06: Nathan Chen of USA compete in the Junior men's free program during day two of the ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating Final 2013/2014 at Marine Messe Fukuoka on December 6, 2013 in Fukuoka, Japan. (Photo by Atsushi Tomura/Getty Images)
TALLINN, ESTONIA - MARCH 06: Nathan Chen of the USA performs during the Men's Short Program on Day 3 of the ISU World Junior Figure Skating Championships at Tondiraba Ice Arena on March 6, 2015 in Tallinn, Estonia. (Photo by Jordan Mansfield - ISU/ISU via Getty Images)
COLORADO SPRINGS, CO - SEPTEMBER 4: Nathan Chen of United States celebrates after finishing first following the junior mens free skate at World Arena on September 4, 2015 in Colorado Springs, Colorado. (Photo by Justin Edmonds/ISU via Getty Images)
BARCELONA, SPAIN - DECEMBER 10: Nathan Chen of United States during the Junior Men short program final during day one of the ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating Final 2015/2016 at the Barcelona International Convention Centre on December 10, 2015 in Barcelona, Spain. (Photo by David Ramos - ISU/ISU via Getty Images)
BARCELONA, SPAIN - DECEMBER 11: Nathan Chen of United States and gold medal poses during the Junior Men Free medals ceremony during day two of the ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating Final 2015/2016 at the Barcelona International Convention Centre on December 11, 2015 in Barcelona, Spain. (Photo by David Ramos - ISU/ISU via Getty Images)
ST PAUL, MN - JANUARY 24: Nathan Chen competes in the Men's Free Skate at the 2016 Prudential U.S. Figure Skating Championship on January 24, 2016 at Xcel Energy Center in St Paul, Minnesota. (Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images)
ST PAUL, MN - JANUARY 24: Nathan Chen looks on after competing in the Men's Free Skate at the 2016 Prudential U.S. Figure Skating Championship on January 24, 2016 at Xcel Energy Center in St Paul, Minnesota. (Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images)
USA's Nathan Chen performs during the Men short program at the ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating in Paris on November 11, 2016. / AFP / LIONEL BONAVENTURE (Photo credit should read LIONEL BONAVENTURE/AFP/Getty Images)
SAPPORO, JAPAN - NOVEMBER 26: Nathan Chen of the USA celebrates in the kiss and cry after skating in the Men free skating during the ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating NHK Trophy on November 26, 2016 in Sapporo, Japan. (Photo by Atsushi Tomura - ISU/ISU via Getty Images)
First placed Japanese Yuzuru Hanyu (C), second placed US Nathan Chen (L) and third placed Japan's Shoma Uno (R) pose on the podium with their medals as they celebrate after competing in the senior Men Free program at the ISU Grand Prix of figure skating Final, on December 10, 2016 in Marseille, southern France. / AFP / ANNE-CHRISTINE POUJOULAT (Photo credit should read ANNE-CHRISTINE POUJOULAT/AFP/Getty Images)
KANSAS CITY, MO - JANUARY 20: Nathan Chen skates his routine that would earn him first place in the short routine championship on Day 2 at the 2017 US Figure Skating Championships on January 20, 2017 at the Sprint Center in Kansas City, Missouri. (Photo by Jason Hanna/Getty Images)
GANGNEUNG, SOUTH KOREA - FEBRUARY 17: Nathan Chen of United States competes in the men's short program during ISU Four Continents Figure Skating Championships - Gangneung -Test Event For PyeongChang 2018 at Gangneung Ice Arena on February 17, 2017 in Gangneung, South Korea. (Photo by Koki Nagahama/Getty Images)
GANGNEUNG, SOUTH KOREA - FEBRUARY 17: Nathan Chen of United States celebrates with his coach Rafael Arutunian in the kiss and cry after the Men Short program during ISU Four Continents Figure Skating Championships - Gangneung -Test Event For PyeongChang 2018 at on February 17, 2017 in Gangneung, South Korea. (Photo by Chung Sung-Jun - ISU/ISU via Getty Images)
GANGNEUNG, SOUTH KOREA - FEBRUARY 19: Gold medalist Nathan Chen of United States greets fans prior to the medal ceremony of the men's skating during ISU Four Continents Figure Skating Championships - Gangneung -Test Event For PyeongChang 2018 at Gangneung Ice Arena on February 19, 2017 in Gangneung, South Korea. (Photo by Koki Nagahama/Getty Images)
WEST HOLLYWOOD, CA - APRIL 28: Figure skater Nathan Chen poses for a portrait during the Team USA PyeongChang 2018 Winter Olympics portraits on April 28, 2017 in West Hollywood, California. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - MAY 02: Alex Shibutani, Maia Shibutani and Nathan Chen attend the Figure Skating in Harlem 20th Anniversary Champions in Life Gala at 583 Park Avenue on May 2, 2017 in New York City. (Photo by Donna Ward/Getty Images)
SAITAMA, JAPAN - OCTOBER 07: Nathan Chen of United States competes during the figure skating Japan Open at Saitama Super Arena on October 7, 2017 in Saitama, Japan. (Photo by Takashi Aoyama/Getty Images)
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That sacrifice, while difficult, helped to put Chen on the path to figure skating stardom. In January, the skater will compete for a coveted spot on Team USA's roster for the 2018 Games in Pyeongchang.

Chen is the only skater currently competing with five different quadruple jumps at his disposal, which he says gives him a "huge advantage."

"To have all of these jumps in my arsenal is very beneficial," he said. "I can always alter my program so I can either play it safe or I can play it risky with high reward. It depends on what I feel like I need that day."

Thanks to those impressive moves and his previous successes at both national and world championships, Chen says he has high hopes to make the Olympic team. If he does, he'll instantly call his biggest supporter -- his mom. 

"She's the one who raised me as a kid," he said. "She's the one who spent all the time with me on the ice. She's the one who really dedicated a lot of her time to help me grow as a skater, so that'll definitely be the first person I talk to."

The Opening Ceremony of the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang is scheduled for February 9, 2018. 

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