Vincent Zhou (USA) strikes gold at ISU World Junior Figure Skating Championships

- Taipei City, Chinese Taipei

The ISU World Junior Figure Skating Championships 2017 continued in Taipei City, Chinese Taipei, Thursday evening with the Men’s Free Skating.

Vincent Zhou (USA) strikes gold

Vincent Zhou (USA) rose from fifth place to strike gold. Russia’s Dmitri Aliev and Alexander Samarin took the silver and bronze medals. Performing to the “Casablanca” soundtrack, Zhou reeled off a quadruple Lutz, quad Salchow-triple Salchow, another quad Salchow as well as two triple Axels and four more triple jumps and level-four footwork. The 17-year-old surpassed his previous personal best by 34 points with 179.24 and racked up 258.11 points to take the gold medal. “The gap between first and fifth after the Short Program wasn’t that big, so I knew it wasn’t anything I couldn’t overcome. I just took the free skate element by element. It feels great to come from behind and kind of top off the field like that”, the national silver medalist told the post-event press conference.

Aliev’s program to “Broken Vow” was highlighted by two triple Axels, five more clean triples and strong spins and steps, but he stumbled badly on the quad toe. The ISU Junior Grand Prix Final Champion set a new personal best in the Free Skating with 163.83 points and war ranked third in the segment. Overall the overnight leader accumulated 247.31 points and slipped to second. „It was a very hard, intense competition. I am glad that I was able to overcome my emotions. The last starting number is like a torture for me and today I was able to deal with it. So I am very positive and very happy right now”, the Russian Junior Champion said.

Samarin produced a quadruple toe-triple toe, quad toe and six triples including two Axels to achieve 163.30 points in the Free Skating. He was ranked fourth in the Free Skating, but overall held on to third place at 245.53 points. “It was my fourth Junior Worlds and the first time I got on to the podium, but I cannot say that I am satisfied with this result. I will start from scratch at the senior level”, the ISU Junior Grand Prix Final silver medalist noted.

Alexander Petrov completed a strong showing of the Russian men by placing fourth (243.47 points). Jun Hwan Cha (KOR), who stood in second place following the Short Program, fell on a quadruple Salchow and dropped to fifth (242.45 points). Defending champion Daniel Samohin (ISR) turned in a strong performance, was second in the Free Skating and pulled up from 16th place to sixth (232.63 points).

The ISU World Junior Figure Skating Championships 2017 continue Friday with the Ladies Short Program and the Pairs Free Skating.

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