Vincent Zhou kicked out of men’s figure skating competition after positive Covid test
Vincent Zhou, the American figure skating hopeful who missed the end of the team competition at the Beijing Olympics after testing positive for coronavirus, said on Monday night he would not compete in the men’s singles competition which starts Tuesday.
In an emotional video posted to his Instagram account, he said he pulled out of the event. Due to the Olympics’ strict anti-virus protocols, Zhou, 21, will also not be allowed to join his teammates when they receive their silver medals on Tuesday.
His positive test and his sudden absence from the ice on Monday evening a few hours after entering isolation surprised even his teammates.
“Where’s Vincent?” Where is Vincent? female skater Karen Chen said she wondered. She assumed he was off to the side, lacing up his skates, and would join the silver medal-winning team from the United States on the ice when the final results were confirmed.
“We just feel bad for him for not being able to share this moment with us,” said Brandon Frazier, who along with his partner, Alexa Knierim, was also part of the silver medal team. “When you’re prevented from doing what you’ve been training for all your life, it’s a really hard pill to swallow.”
In Zhou’s video, filmed in his hotel room, he fights back tears as he comments “to the future Vincent watching this”, professing pride in his accomplishments and his long journey to Beijing and declaring his continued love for skating and the people and teammates who supported it.
“It seems pretty unreal that of all people, this would happen to me,” he said. “And it’s not just because I’m still dealing with this turn of events, but also because I’ve done everything in my power to stay Covid-free since the pandemic began. I’ve taken all possible precautions I have isolated myself so much that the loneliness I have felt over the past two months has at times been overwhelming.
Several of Zhou’s teammates said they were just as surprised as he was that he tested positive. Zhou often ate alone, they said, wore N95 masks and sanitized his hands frequently. He did not socialize with others in the Olympic Village common room.
Many U.S. skaters wore two masks after Monday’s team final, but most are eating in the Olympic Village cafeteria, along with hundreds of other athletes. Nathan Chen, the three-time world champion who is the favorite for the gold medal in men’s individual skating, said the Americans ate in a closed area and he lowered his mask every time he took a bite and the was rising rapidly. when he chews because “prevention is better than cure”.
“Obviously, it’s all just speculation: when did he get it? Who did he get it from? Who did he hang out with? Chen said. “Personally, I haven’t really been with him, and every time I’ve been with him, I’ve been wearing a mask.”
Zhou’s disappointment was palpable; at one point in his video he said, “I really lost count of how many times I cried today.” Yet one of those moments, he said, included “tears of joy,” when he learned he had become a silver medalist.
“I am more than just another positive Covid test,” he added.
A substitute will not be able to take Zhou’s place in the men’s singles event because he has already competed on Olympic ice, the U.S. Skating Federation said.