Chen competes in the figure skating team event in Beijing.
After enduring a near-two-year wait, figure skating star Nathan Chen will finally receive a gold medal as a member of the US team at the Beijing Olympics.
The US team’s upgraded position on the podium comes after Kamila Valieva’s four-year ban for a positive drug test prior to the 2022 Winter Games, though Chen says that any joy is tempered by the reasons behind the delay.
“This decision is certainly a win for clean sport,” Chen, a three-time world champion who also won gold in the men’s singles event in Beijing, told CNN This Morning on Tuesday. “However, the fact that this happened at all is a win for no one.”
The Russian Olympic Committee (ROC) had initially finished first in the team event in Beijing, but the 17-year-old Valieva’s ban, linked to a positive sample recorded before the Games, means that her results from the team event have been disqualified.
“We competed clean for the entirety of our careers,” added Chen. “Every substance that we put in our bodies is cleared before we even consider actually taking them. Without clean sport, the integrity of the sport is diminished.”
Robert Deutsch/Reuters/USA TODAY Sports
Chen is set to become a two-time Olympic gold medalist following Valieva’s four-year ban.
Valieva was only 15 when she tested positive for trimetazidine, a heart medication which can boost endurance. Her doping ban is backdated to December 25, 2021, when the positive sample was collected.
Following her disqualification from the team event in Beijing, the International Skating Union (ISU) moved the ROC down to the bronze medal position and kept Canada in fourth place, one point behind the ROC.
In a statement on Tuesday, Skate Canada said it “strongly disagrees” with the ISU’s decision to leave its team in fourth place and said it “will consider all options to appeal this decision.”
Japan moved up to silver behind Team USA, which included Chen, Vincent Zhou, Karen Chen, Alexa Knierim, Brandon Frazier, Madison Chock, Evan Bates, Madison Hubbell, and Zachary Donohue.
“I’m just so excited for this team,” Chen said. “This team has shown so much dedication throughout their entire career and I don’t know any group of people that deserves this more.
“They’ve all held themselves incredibly well through this time of indecision and represented themselves and the US well.”
The 24-year-old Chen hasn’t competed since the 2022 Winter Olympics, though he hasn’t ruled out a return to the ice at some point.
“I still find myself at the rink and it’s always a good time to find myself back out there,” he said. “We’ll see what happens, but right now I’m very excited to see where the sport is going.”
Also on Tuesday, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said that Valieva remains an Olympic champion to Russia.
“We do not agree with these decisions – neither with the decision of the court, nor with the decision of the [skating] federation. We do not accept them,” Peskov told reporters on a conference call.
“Upon returning from China – from the Olympics – we honored these athletes as Olympic champions,” he added. “We are convinced that for us, they will always remain Olympic champions. No matter what decisions are made in this regard, even unfair ones.”
CNN’s Homero De la Fuente, Andrew McNicol and Anna Chernova contributed to reporting.