Athletes are always redefining the limits of human possibility. When they push past one barrier by doing something extraordinary, something for the ages, they dream of what might be next.
When Nathan Chen, then 16, landed four clean quadruple jumps in the free skate at last year's U.S. championships -- becoming the first U.S. athlete to do so -- it already defied the imagination. He had already pushed the sport to the edge of the 22nd Century, so it was hard to believe it would take him only one year to defy the realistic pace of progress.
Chen was dreaming even bigger, however, and began working to turn visions into reality.
Five quadruple jumps in the eight jumping passes of a free skate? So what if nobody had ever done that many quads clean in a competition. Why not?
That is precisely what Chen did Sunday afternoon at the 2017 U.S. Figure Skating Championships in Kansas City, tossing them off with surpassing ease that could only have one thinking that this is just the beginning of how this young man may reset the physical parameters of figure skating.