Jun Hong Chen knows exactly what he wants to achieve in life: He wants to represent The United States in the Winter Olympics.
Chen, a 15-year-old sophomore at Santa Fe Prep, spends most of his time (outside school) on the ice rink. He practices at the Genoveva Chavez Community Center for about two hours daily and makes frequent visits to the Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs to train. Chen has made it to regional, national and sectional competitions in the past. His personal goal is to win as many gold medals as possible, and in doing so, spread his passion for ice skating throughout the world to inspire others.
What is the best and worst thing about being a teenager?
The best thing is knowing that a bunch of people are going to support you no matter what happens or what you do. One of my great friends, Jordan Kinlaw, has been a huge supporter of what I do both in and out of school. Jordan, a well-accomplished and talented swimmer, understands the amount of dedication required to be a good athlete. It’s one of the best things to have an empathetic friend who understands the sacrifice and commitment of being an athlete. It’s even better when everyone is always behind you and constantly supporting you.
The worst thing is disappointing a lot of people. I’ve let down many supporters and friends, and it brings me much heartache every time. The worst thing is knowing that you could’ve done better or that you shouldn’t have done something. Disappointment is one of the worst parts of being a teenager, but it’s all part of learning from them to become even greater.
What do you want to be when you grow up and why?
When I become older — and my frail body can no longer tolerate quadruple jump — I will pursue a career in curling or bobsledding and win several Olympics. I want to change the world and live life to the fullest.
What is one thing about you that you hope will never change?
I hope that I continue to appreciate the support from all of my friends and family … and to continue remind myself to be good to everyone around me.
What is your life motto?
Focus, adjust, perfect.
What is the best way to describe what you feel when you are figure skating?
I feel like a winner. Whether it’s winning a chess match or winning a game of 8-ball, that’s how I feel when I ice skate, there’s this type of freedom that you feel on the ice, and you also have the ability to entertain the people who are watching.
Ramona Park is a junior at Santa Fe High School. Contact her at email@example.com.