By Michael Houston |
American figure skater Vincent Zhou, considered one of the main contenders for the men’s singles gold medal, has tested positive for COVID-19 a day before the individual competition is set to begin at the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympic Games.
The positive test also comes a day after Zhou represented the United States in the team event, competing in the men’s singles free skating, in which he finished third behind Yuma Kagiyama of Japan and the Russian Olympic Committee’s (ROC) Mark Kondratiuk.
Nathan Chen, one of Zhou’s rivals for the medals in the men’s singles event, won the short program for the US the day before in team qualifying.
World Championship bronze medallist Zhou is now a major doubt for the men’s singles, which starts tomorrow with the short program.
“As part of yesterday’s regular COVID-19 screening, Vincent Zhou tested positive,” read a statement from US Figure Skating.
“Under the guidance of the United States Olympic and Paralympic Committee medical staff, Zhou is undergoing additional testing to confirm his status.
“If the results are negative, Zhou will be able to compete in the men’s short program, which begins Tuesday.
“At this time, we ask you respect his privacy as we await the results.”
Zhou and Chen were expected to contend for the Olympic title, alongside Japanese stars Yuzuru Hanyu – the two-time defending Olympic champion – and Shoma Uno.
The positive test was confirmed less than an hour before a venue ceremony to honour the top three of the team event, in which the US won silver behind the ROC and in front of Japan.
Zhou is not the first figure skater to test positive for the virus prior to or during the Games.
The ROC’s Mikhail Kolyada, a World Championship bronze medallist, was ruled out of Beijing 2022 late last month after contracting COVID-19 prior to a pre-Olympic training camp.
Kolyada was replaced by Evgeni Semenenko.
Hanyu, who has asthma, skipped the 2020 Grand Prix of Figure Skating season due to concerns over COVID-19.
Republished with permission from insidethegames.biz.