Fans in China jumped to Weibo — China's version of Twitter — to attack the Utah-born skater as “too white,” and some even told him to “get out of China” after taking gold in the men's singles free skate and becoming only the third American to win gold in Beijing.
Chen, born in 1999 to Chinese immigrants in the U.S., said, “It's just a whirlwind right now,” after winning gold on Thursday.
“Everything's happening so fast. That program was a lot of fun to skate. Just had a blast out there, and I'm really grateful,” he added.
“I can't even describe it,” he said. “You can't even imagine what it might feel like. It's just amazing.”
But Chen has been poking a finger in the China hornet's nest for several years since he debuted at the 2018 Olympics and performed to a song from the film Mao's Last Dance, a film about a Chinese dancer who defected to the U.S.A. in the 1980s.
Chen claimed he was not aware of the political connotation of his choice of music, but he has also angered Chinese sports fans by refusing to give interviews in Mandarin, a language he learned from his parents. Chen has claimed he isn't fluent enough in Mandarin to speak it during an interview.
Regardless, Chen has refused to respond to the Chinese attacks.
“I don't have social media here. So I probably have been very sheltered from that. And I don't plan on looking at social since sometimes social (media) can be a little toxic,” he said.
Follow Warner Todd Huston on Facebook at: facebook.com/Warner.Todd.Huston