Vincent Zhou gets happy ending at world figure skating championships

Sometimes there are sad stories with happy endings. On Saturday, the sport of figure skating offered us a particularly satisfying one.

Vincent Zhou, the American figure skater who suffered the devastating disappointment of being in quarantine with COVID-19 as his Olympic event went by without him last month, won the bronze medal on Saturday in the men’s competition at the world championships of figure skating in Montpellier, France.

Zhou, 21, who has spoken eloquently about his mental struggles over the past few weeks after testing positive in Beijing just before his event, took a deep breath as he stood on the world medal podium, with the gold medalist Shoma Uno and silver medalist Yuma Kagiyama, both of Japan, alongside him. He had never been through a period as difficult as this.

“Eleven, 12 days ago, I woke up in this bottomless pit,” Zhou said later at a press conference. “I called my agent, my coaches and a few important people and told them that I thought my whole career was a failure and for nothing. I thought I couldn’t do it. The only thing that made me brought here was the inner feeling that I didn’t want to live with the regret of not trying It was the only thing that kept me invested in my journey of getting on the plane and at the ice rink and take it day by day.

Minutes earlier, when he found out he had won the bronze medal, Zhou texted his coach, who was nearby, to come meet him.

“He texted me and asked me to come backstage,” Tom Zakrajsek said in a text message. “We both shed tears and hugged. I told him I was so proud of him for carrying on for the past few weeks. And I told him you did it your way, because that he had done.

Unlike the women’s and pairs events at the world championships, both of which were greatly affected by the banishment of the Russians and/or the absence of China, the men’s event was only missing one Olympic medalist, although most importantly: gold medalist Nathan Chen, who withdrew with “a nagging injury.”

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Uno, the Olympic bronze medalist, won easily with 312.48 points. Kagiyama, the Olympic silver medalist, scored 297.60 points, while Zhou scored 277.38.

“I’m really proud of myself for putting in two good performances,” said Zhou, who was in sixth place after the short program. “I did great things there and I have a lot to learn and develop. … It’s one of the most meaningful and meaningful moments of my career.

It was the second world bronze medal for Zhou, who has been overshadowed by Chen throughout his career but is still one of the most talented skaters of his generation. He also won bronze at the 2019 world championships. Zhou is the only skater to defeat Chen in the four years between the 2018 and 2022 Winter Olympics, upsetting his compatriot at Skate America last October. Zhou was also part of the silver medal-winning U.S. figure skating team that was deprived of an Olympics medal ceremony due to the Russian doping scandal.

It was the second individual bronze medal for the United States at these world championships; Two-time national champion Alysa Liu finished third Friday in the women’s event, also won by Japanese skater Kaori Sakamoto, an Olympic bronze medalist. The missing Russians finished first, second and fourth at the Olympics in this event.

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