For Nathan Chen, some confidence-building leaps, times five

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SAN JOSE, Calif. -- It sounds a bit crazy to say this about a guy who had won all four of his events this season prior to the 2018 U.S. Figure Skating Championships, but Nathan Chen has been struggling.

Struggling, that is, by the ice-breaking standards he set while becoming figure skating's newest star last season.

So his strong performance in Saturday night's free skate inside San Jose's SAP Center meant more than just making him a runaway national champion for the second straight year and earning the 2018 Olympic team spot that has been a foregone conclusion.

Chen matched his historic five-clean-quad free skate of a year ago at nationals, and it was his first such performance this season. In each of his previous two competitions, the Grand Prix Final and Skate America, only two of his five planned quads were clean.

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