Karen Chen was unable to earn a spot on the medal podium at the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea.
Chen scored 185.65 overall in the event, which was good for 11th place overall. She entered Thursday in 10th after the judges gave her a 65.90 in the short program.
The Chicago Tribune's Dawn Rhodes commented on Chen's free skate performance:
The 18-year-old showed off her talent when she won gold at the 2017 U.S. Figure Skating Championships and followed up with a fourth-place finish at the 2017 World Figure Skating Championships—the best result from an American in the ladies' event.
However, Chen regressed a bit at the 2018 U.S. Championships, placing third behind Bradie Tennell and Mirai Nagasu. Her performance there demonstrated her biggest issue on the ice.
"I know I've shown a lot of inconsistency," Chen said before the Olympics got underway, per Rachel Lutz of NBCOlympics.com. "I'm ready to let that all go, and let that all go behind me. I learned a lot from it. Nationals did go relatively well—I made the team. I am proud of the skates that I put out there. There's so much to work on and so much more improvement to get done. I've been staying focused on improving those little things."
Chen showed in 2017 she could hold her own against the best figure skaters in the world. It was just a matter of her living up to her potential and putting together two solid programs at the Olympics.
Unfortunately, the stars didn't align for Chen in Pyeongchang.
Given her age, Chen should have another opportunity for an Olympic medal in 2022 if she wants to pursue that path. Falling short at the 2018 Olympics could provide her with invaluable experience four years from now.
Should the idea of training for another Olympics not sound all that exciting for Chen, she could follow the path many other Olympians have pursued and skate exclusively in professional events. Despite the fact she was unable to medal in Pyeongchang, her profile has risen significantly in the buildup to the 2018 Winter Olympics.
Figure skating fans were already well aware of Chen's exploits, and her performances in Pyeongchang have helped her gain wider popularity that should help for the next stage of her career.