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Vincent Zhou Not Content with Second Best at 2022 U.S. Nationals

by Liz Leamy



(28 December 2021)  Vincent Zhou, the 2019 World bronze medalist and four-time U.S. medalist, is determined to make the ultimate mark at the 2022 U.S. Championships in Nashville.

Zhou, a Palo Alto, California native who works with Tom Zakrajsek, Christy Krall and Drew Meekins in Colorado Springs as well as Mie Hamada, is within striking distance of this goal, especially in light of how well he has been skating in recent events leading up the National Championships.

Last October, Zhou, 21, triumphantly clinched gold at the 2021 Skate America Grand Prix in Las Vegas with two stellar programs, besting three-time World titlist and five-time U.S. champion, Nathan Chen, who was third and Shoma Uno of Japan, who placed second.

Continuing on this quest, Zhou, a few weeks later, went on to claim silver at the NHK Trophy, where he again skated two exceptional programs.

Regarded as one of the world’s premiere men’s athletes, Zhou has been generating a great deal of buzz with his success so far this season, performing in stark contrast to his outing at the 2021 World Championships last March where he did not qualify for the free skate segment of that competition.

Zhou has been on a mission since then and has been said to have working harder than ever, efforts that have clearly generated terrific results so far this season.

As part of his daily training routine, Zhou has been running through his short and long programs at the Broadmoor World Arena simulating actual competition.

Every morning and evening, Zhou shows up at the rink in full costume and proceeds to go through the standard five-minute warm-up before running through his programs. Afterwards, he waits to hear his marks while sitting on a bench at the side of the rink. (Most of the time, he said he breaks a 300 total, a number he hopes to earn at competitions this season.)

Zhou said as part of his training, he has also been monitoring his heart rate and thoroughly going over his jump technique through Dartfish video technology with his coaches at sessions as a means to cover all bases and perform at optimal level.

Certainly, in looking at Zhou’s success so far this season, this approach has been effective.

Meanwhile, his climb back to the top of the global competitive ladder this season has been followed and applauded by many, so when the Grand Prix Finals in Osaka, Japan were cancelled in December due to a resurgence of the coronavirus, it was a bit of an adjustment, especially for Zhou, who had to reconfigure his mindset. Along with Zhou, Nathan Chen and Jason Brown, the 2015 U.S. titlist, had also qualified for the Grand Prix Finals, with these three athletes representing an impressive half of the total six finalists in this event.

“It was an opportunity missed but it’s okay. All we can do is keep moving forward,” said Zhou. “Things happen and all we can do is focus on what we can control and I’m focusing on my training.”

Zhou, known among his peers who have trained on the same ice as him to be an incredible jumper, said he is looking forward to going up against Chen, Brown and the rest of the domestic men’s field in Nashville.

“Having a great and difficult National competition is always super exciting,” said Zhou, who also said he plans to resume studying full-time at Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island next fall. “In current men’s skating, it’s great to have multiple people to go head-to-head with in the National Championships. It’s a high bar set to overcome and that’s motivating.”

When asked by media members if he would like to finish at the top of the podium, Zhou answered in affirmative fashion.

“There’s no real point in going into Nationals to think the best I can do is second place,” said Zhou.

Over the past few weeks, Zhou also said he has been working through some minor challenges with equipment issues, an occurrence he sees as just part of the whole competitive experience.

“There’s always lots of micro challenges,” said Zhou. “I’m doing my best to make the Olympic team and fight for a medal in Beijing.”

At the 2022 Beijing Olympics, Zhou would likely face off against Chen, Yuzuru Hanyu, the two-time Japanese Olympic gold medalist, Shoma Uno and Yuma Kagiyama, as well as a host of other elite men, including Brown.

Zhou has shown all systems are go after the first half of his season, making for a story that has been exciting to follow, as he begins the final push to make the U.S. Olympic team and to compete in Beijing in February 2022.

The men’s competition will be held at the Bridgestone Arena in Nashville, Tennessee on Saturday, January 8th at 2 pm and on Sunday, January 9th at 11:15 am.