Nathan Chen recalls driving to Rafael Arutyunyan's training camp in Southern California with his mother.
On Thursday, the 22-year-old Yale student won the gold medal at the Beijing Games with a near-perfect free skate following a world-record-setting short programme.
He became the first American figure skating champion since Evan Lysacek in 2010, capping one of the sport's most dominant four-year streaks ever.
He'd begun figure skating only a few years before, borrowing his sister's skates and sleeping in the car to pursue his Olympic ambitions.
“I’m happy. Just emotional,” Arutyunyan said. “He made it.”