Palo Alto's Vincent Zhou (USA) rose from fifth place to strike gold in Men’s Free Skating at the International Skating Union's World Junior Figure Skating Championships in Taipei City, Chinese Taipei, on Thursday.
Russia’s Dmitri Aliev and Alexander Samarin took the silver and bronze medals.
Vincent Zhao during the Bavarian Open. Photo from govincentzhou.com.
"I am in awe of the competition and I feel so honored to be the Junior World Champion," Zhou wrote in an Instagram post. "It's a great feeling to be rewarded with something that I have been working hard for all season."
The 16-year-old, who finished fifth at last year's competition, surpassed his previous personal best by 34 points with 179.24 and racked up 258.11 points (including the short program) 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," Zhou said in the post-event press conference. "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.”
Zhou made his championship debut at the U.S. Figure Skating Championships at HP Pavilion in San Jose in January of 2012, earning a gold medal.
Zhou was the youngest of the 250 skaters competing.
"It wouldn't have been possible without my supportive team of coaches, doctors, friends, trainers, and family," Zhou wrote. "Most of all my mother, who has been and always is there for me."
Zhou won the Bavarian Open in Oberstdorf, Germany in February.
Zhou's older sister, Gunn grad Vivian Zhou, is a freshman diver at M.I.T.