“Looking through photos from the 2022 Olympics has been difficult, not only due to the lack thereof (for obvious reasons) but also due to various memories they unearthed. Conversations in locker rooms, chatting with volunteers, and being on an entirely different planet from everyone else despite breathing the same air… it all seems so distant, yet simultaneously present in my life.
A few days ago, CAS released its decision, followed by the ISU, and my teammates and I were declared the 2022 Olympic Gold Medalists. I can’t verbalize the emotions I discovered I could feel since then, but I can share a bit about the roller coaster it’s been.
As many of you know, I have been outspoken about the incontrovertible need for integrity and fairness in sports. When these values are overlooked in favor of the blinding need to win at all costs, victory loses all meaning. Having spent the last two years in this strange limbo where up was down, truth was ridiculed, and silence fell upon our dreams like the foggy morning after a storm, I had begun to lose hope.
Einstein once said, “What I seek to accomplish is simply to serve with my feeble capacity truth and justice, at the risk of pleasing no one.” Athletes in the public eye are no stranger to backlash. They are expected to uphold a perfect image of excellence, sportsmanship, and virtue – yet simultaneously they are to heed criticism with bowed heads and acquiesce to conformity. Athletes who dare to voice their contention are made an example out of, despite the fact that they are literally the ones physically involved in the matter, with a lifetime of firsthand experience informing their judgment. They are the ones actually out in the arena doing the work with their own hands, being told their experience is fake as they are literally experiencing it. Knowing this, I listened to my head and heart, staying true to the axiom that the Olympics exists on the basis of fair and clean competition, and without the latter the former cannot endure.
The turbulence that preceded CAS and ISU’s decisions, however, may just have been worth it, for now, as the 2022 Olympic champions, my teammates and I secured a small victory amidst the larger endeavor to move towards a world where the athletes of today and tomorrow, our children, our brethren, can strive for their dreams and compete proudly without the bitter aftertaste of injustice. But this victory was never just about me or my teammates, or about Team USA. This is about every single athlete from every country – those who hold the tenets of integrity, sportsmanship, and fairness in equal regard to their own Olympic aspirations as absolute truth.
I am infinitely proud of my team, grateful to my supporters, and honored to be an Olympic Gold Medalist.” – Vincent Zhou wrote on instagram.
Source – Vincent Zhou’s Instagram