Newly-crowned Olympic champion Nathan Chen has told CNN that he still hopes to stand on the podium to celebrate Team USA’s figure skating silver in Beijing.
Chen and his US teammates missed the opportunity to collect their medals from the figure skating team event on Tuesday due to an ongoing doping scandal involving Russian athlete Kamila Valieva.
The USA was beaten to gold by Valieva and the Russian Olympic Committee (ROC) on Monday, but the medal ceremony was delayed as news emerged that a member of the ROC’s team had tested positive for a prohibited substance.
On Friday, the International Testing Agency (ITA) confirmed that the 15-year-old Valieva had failed a drug test taken before the Games in December, testing positive for banned heart drug trimetazidine.
“The medal ceremony is definitely a very special part of the Olympics, and for those that should get a medal, I truly hope that they can,” Chen told CNN’s Coy Wire.
“Whatever happens, happens. But I do hope that we will have this opportunity to share that as a team.”
The ROC could be stripped of its gold medal following the International Olympic Committee’s (IOC) announcement Friday that it will be taking its case against Valieva and the ROC to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS).
The ROC said that Valieva had “repeatedly passed doping tests” while already in Beijing and that it is taking measures to keep Valieva’s “honestly won” gold.
A decision is needed before Valieva’s next event – the women’s singles short program – on Tuesday, wherein she is favorite to win gold.
The figure skating team competition at the Olympics features four disciplines – men’s and women’s singles, ice dance, and pairs – executed across a short program and a free skate.
Points are awarded based on where a country ranks in each of the eight components, with the top five teams from the short program advancing to the free skate. The winner is the team with the most points at the end of the competition.
‘A lot of things are still in my mind right now’
Addressing the case, Chen said that he believes “things will become more clear” in due course.
“There’s certainly a lot of variables that are coming into play, but at the end of the day, all I can really control is how much I can do,” Chen said.
“Certainly, as athletes, you want to be able to have as fair a playing field as possible.
“A lot of things are still in my mind right now and I don’t actually know the details of everything going on, so I can’t come to a clear conclusion. But as things unfold, things will become more clear.”
Having won silver with his team on Monday, Chen added a stunning gold medal in the individual event on Thursday.
The 22-year-old took his first Olympic title in masterful fashion, setting a new short program world record on Tuesday before sealing victory with another excellent showing in the long program.
In doing so, he became the first American since Evan Lysacek in 2010 to win a men’s figure skating gold medal.