Vincent Zhou of Palo Alto will head to the figure skating World Championships next month knowing judges are watching his jumps closely after the teen won the bronze medal at the Four Continents competition in Anaheim.
Zhou, 18, got marked down late Saturday night on two of three quadruple jumps as well as a triple axel in a free skate performance that dropped the skater in the overall standings after he had won the short program.
Judges this season have reviewed most of Zhou’s big jumps because of a reputation for under-rotating them. Although Zhou completed all 11 of his jumps in the long program he finished fifth in the 4-minute competition because of technical downgrades from the judging panel.
Olympic silver medalist Shoma Uno of Japan won the free skate and the title with a total score of 289.12 points. Olympian Boyang Jin of China was second (273.51 points) and Zhou third (272.22.)
“I think it’s a good thing that I wasn’t perfect at this competition because if I were perfect then I wouldn’t have anywhere to go for worlds,” Zhou told reporters in Anaheim.
Zhou will face most of the same competitors at the year’s major competition March 18-24 in Saitama, Japan, but also defending world and U.S. champion Nathan Chen and Olympic gold medalist Yuzuru Hanyu of Japan, who didn’t perform in Anaheim.
Zhou lost grade of execution points on a quadruple flip, quadruple toe and triple axel-double toe combination jump to sabotage an otherwise positive weekend for the Colorado Springs, Colorado-based skater. Still, it was a season-best free skate score, giving Zhou confidence of finishing the year strong in Japan.
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Zhou had said before the U.S. championships that he and his coaches worked on proving his jumps were fully rotated. The teen finished second at the nationals where he appeared to have resolved the problem. But international judges still have issues.
“The more I show myself to be consistent, I guess the less unsure scrutiny I’ll get,” Zhou told reporters. “But that’ll take a lot of hard work on my side and not just blaming others for giving me bad calls. It’s like I have to think about, ‘What can I do better?’ And that’s something I’ve been doing a lot of in this latter half of the season.”
Source:: The Mercury News – Sports