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U.S. JUNIOR CHAMPIONS – MEN’S


skate bigger than the other boys to succeed. He’s done very well with it so far.” Zhou commutes approximately six hours


from his hometown of Palo Alto, Calif., to Riv- erside, Calif., weekly to train alongside Gambill’s other pupils, including 2011 U.S. silver medal- ist Richard Dornbush and up-and-coming skat- ers like U.S. novice champion Tyler Pierce, U.S. novice silver medalist Amy Lin and World Junior bronze medalist Shotaro Omori. “It is fortunate for Vincent to have some skaters in the rink that he looks up to,” Gambill said. “He is always trying to do what the big kids do and keeps pushing the envelope. He doesn’t like it at all when I tell him he is not ready to try a certain jump or combination. He will push to get stronger so that he can show me that he is ready. I


love that hunger about him.” Gambill credits Zhou, an honor roll student, middle school graduate at age 12 and winner of the Presidential Award for Educational Excel- lence, for his incredible success both on and off the ice. “Vincent is very determined and a hard


worker,” Gambill said. “He is great at managing his time with skating, homework, off-ice work- outs and traveling back and forth to Northern California. He is always trying to give me his best every day.”


While Zhou credits his own dedication for his success, he also praises his support system for its help along the way. “My exceptional coach Tammy Gambill, all of my great coaching team and training, my ex-


Zhou shows his vast skating skills in his short program to The Sorcerer’s Apprentice.


Coaches Justin Dillon and Tammy Gambill have played large roles in Zhou’s growth as a skater.


traordinary family support and, of course, hard work and perseverance got me here,” Zhou said. “Tammy is a truly great coach. She pushes me and motivates me to do my best. My mom is another huge figure in my life, supporting me, quitting her job for my skating and basically being the backbone of my life. As well as her support for my skating, she encourages academics, saying that school is also important.”


A longstanding champion, Zhou hasn’t fin-


ished lower than gold at a U.S. qualifying event since 2010, when he placed fifth as a juvenile boy at the U.S. Junior Championships. With such an enduring record, Zhou hopes to continue to prove himself among his older competitors as he moves forward into the Olympic year. “I would like to anticipate moving up to se-


nior,” Zhou said. “It would be a good experience competing at the highest level for the first time in an Olympic year. We will work on it and make the decision this summer.” “We just finished having both programs


done by Justin Dillon,” Gambill added. “We are working toward maturity and strength so that he can show that he can keep up with the big boys.” “My short program music is ‘Te Barber of


Seville Overture’ by Rossini,” Zhou continued. “Justin decided with me that we wanted a kind of playful yet mature look to me, still having that youthful energy around. He told me the storyline of the play, and I understood it a little better. My free skate music is to Te Nutcracker, the real one, not the bouncy hip-hop version by B. Bumble & Te Stingers that I skated to as a novice. Again, we wanted a more mature look as I develop as a growing skater, but the faster part of it still keeps my energy in there.” As for the rest of his life? “After skating, I want to have a family and, of course, teach my kids to skate,” Zhou said. “I also want to be a part-time international judge. I would like to go to Stanford or Harvard and maybe become a technology entrepreneur in the high-tech field.” Based on his track record so far, the sky is the


limit for the prodigy. “I felt Vincent was going to make a splash


pretty early on,” Gambill said. “His determina- tion to always do better is so strong that he doesn’t stop until he achieves his goal.”


SKATING 39


JAY ADEFF/U.S. FIGURE SKATING


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