American figure skater Vincent Zhou was ruled out of the men’s individual competition at the 2022 Olympics after testing positive for COVID-19.
The 21-year-old was slated to begin his bid for a gold medal on Tuesday in the men’s short program. While there was hope that Zhou would be eligible, he was unable to meet the requirement of two negative COVID-19 tests.
Zhou, a student at Brown University, posted a video on Instagram in which he shared his devastation over being unable to compete.
“I’ve isolated myself so much that the loneliness I’ve felt in the last month or to has been crushing at times. The enormity of the situation, just the pain of it all is pretty insane,” Zhou said.
Zhou, who came sixth in the men’s individual event in the 2018 PyeongChang Games, said it is his “dream to medal on an Olympic stage” but that he was more upset about not being able to participate than not winning. “If I didn’t love this I wouldn’t still be doing it. And I know I love this,” he said.
While he was not able to witness it in person, Zhou successfully accomplished his goal and medaled at the Olympics. The U.S. figure skating team earned silver medals in the team figure skating event, but due to his isolation, Zhou couldn’t join teammates Nathan Chen, Karen Chen, ice dancers Madison Hubbell, Zach Donohue, Madison Chock and Evan Bates, and pairs skaters Alexa Knierim and Brandon Frazier on the podium.
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Zhou said that he’s “honored, grateful and humbled to call myself an Olympic silver medalist” after competing in the men’s free skate.
While the figure skater couldn’t help but lament that his time at the Winter Games was cut short, he still was proud of what he and Team USA accomplished. In his video, Zhou said he’s “already lost count of the number of times I cried today. At least one of those times was happy tears and that was when I found out that I became an Olympic silver medalist and I think that wraps things up nicely on a positive note.”