Zhou wins Skate America crown in Las Vegas

By: AFP      Published: 12:44 PM, 24 Oct, 2021
Zhou wins Skate America crown in Las Vegas
Winner Vincent Zhou.

American Vincent Zhou snatched the Skate America crown on Saturday in Las Vegas, while three-time world champion Nathan Chen settled for bronze, unable to come all the way back from Friday’s disastrous short programme.

Zhou collected 198.13 points for his “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon” finale, and 295.56 in all. Chen’s Mozart-themed free skate earned 186.48 points, bringing his total to 269.37.

Japanese Shoma Uno tallied 270.68 to hold on to second place. The 2018 Olympic silver medallist scored 181.61 for his four-minute routine set to Ravel’s “Bolero.”

Uno nailed three quadruple jumps but shaky landings on other jumps cost him.

Zhou was on fire from the start. He opened with a massive quad lutz and flip and delivered three more quads in quick succession followed by two triple Axels.

He pumped his fists in celebration at the end of his near flawless skate and teared up when his winning scores flashed on the leaderboard.

“Today I really tried to focus on myself, stay in the present, stay in the moment and connect to all the good training I’ve done leading up to this competition,” said Zhou who finished 25th at last season’s world championship. “It’s pretty incredible.”

Chen went for broke attempting six quads in his free skate but only four materialized. He opened two others into doubles.

Chen’s loss to his US teammate brought his three-year winning streak to an abrupt end at this first of six stops on the ISU Grand Prix circuit.

 “It’s not devastating. It was inevitably going to end. I’m really proud of these guys up here and if anyone is going to break my streak, I’m glad it’s him,” Chen said.

“At this point in time, all I can really try to do is keep moving forward, learn from this competition and go from there.”

Chen is the only man here slated to compete next week at the second Grand Prix event in Canada, leaving him little time to work out the performance kinks.

Zhou and Uno compete again in three-weeks at NHK Trophy in Tokyo. 

Earlier Saturday, Russians Evgenia Tarasova and Vladimir Morozov built on their early lead to claim gold in pairs competition.

On the strength of masterful lifts and throw jumps, the veteran duo scored a total of 222.50 points.

Riku Miura and Ryuichi Kihara, 10th in the world last season, surprised with their silver medal finish on 208.20.

The Japanese overtook Aleksandra Boikova and Dmitrii Kozlovskii, of Russia, who settled for bronze (205.53) after she fell on two elements.

Miura also crashed on their throw jump, but the duo was otherwise rock solid and showed lightning speed.

Skate America concludes Sunday with the women’s and ice dance finals.

Three Russian women, led by Alexandra Trusova, are in podium position, while U.S. ice dancers Madison Hubbell and Zach Donohue and Madison Chock and Evan Bates will face off for gold. 

The Grand Prix series culminates with the top six performers in each discipline facing off at the final in Osaka in December.

This season the final will double as a preview of the 2022 Olympic Winter Games which open February 4 in Beijing.