Palo Altan joins Olympics figure skating team

'This is a truly surreal opportunity,' teen says on Twitter

It's official: 17-year-old Palo Alto teen Vincent Zhou has been selected for the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea.

Zhou was selected to be one of three athletes on the U.S. men's singles figure skating team, U.S. Figure Skating officials announced Sunday. Nathan Chen and Adam Rippon were also selected to represent Team USA.

"It is my greatest honor to be representing the United States of America at the 2018 Winter Olympic Games in PyeongChang, South Korea," Zhou said in a tweet Sunday. "This is a truly surreal opportunity in the midst of the greatest realization of aspirations I have ever known. Thank you all."

Zhou became the 2018 U.S. bronze medalist in Saturday night's 2018 U.S. Figure Skating Championships at the SAP Center in San Jose, edging out competitors Jason Brown, Ross Miner and Max Aaron, who were nominated the first, second and third alternates on the Olympic team. Chen, who was defending his 2017 Nationals title, received the gold medal. Miner won the silver on Saturday, but he did not make the Olympic team because of complex selection criteria that include past and present competitions, according to skating officials.

Zhou was born in San Jose to parents who are Chinese immigrants. The family moved to Palo Alto when he was 2 1/2 years old, according to his webpage He began skating at 5 1/2 years old after attending a birthday party at a local skating rink.

He attended Hoover Elementary School, but due to his demanding training schedule, switched to an online charter school, Capistrano Connections Academy. He now attends high school in Colorado Springs, Colorado, where he trains.

He made his championship debut at the U.S. Figure Skating Championships in 2012, where he was the youngest skater and won a gold medal. He won the Championships' 2017 U.S. silver medal and was the 2017 World Junior champion, according to his website.

In March 2017, he went from fifth place to win the gold medal in the Men's Free Skating at the International Skating Union's World Junior Figure Skating Championships in Taipei City, Chinese Taipei.

But along the way, he has surmounted a number of challenges, including stress fractures to a foot, knee surgery and his father's life-threatening illness, according to his website.

He placed a disappointing ninth place at the ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating Internationeux de France on Nov. 17-18, after falling twice during the short program performance. He greeted the challenge with a champion's heart, however, and chronicled his reaction in two-page letter he posted on Twitter.

"Today, I fought. I performed with all the passion and spirit I could muster. I made mistakes, I failed my expectations, and I am disappointed with the results. However, I am Vincent Zhou. I am young, ambitious, hungry, and motivated. But most importantly, I am still learning," he wrote.

On Saturday night in San Jose, commentators said he gave an exhilarating performance. He received a standing ovation from spectators.

The Winter Olympics will begin Feb. 8. All nominations by U.S. Figure Skating are subject to approval by the United States Olympic Committee.


Follow the Palo Alto Weekly/Palo Alto Online on Twitter @PaloAltoWeekly and Facebook for breaking news, local events, photos, videos and more.

What is community worth to you?
Support local journalism.


11 people like this
Posted by Anonymous
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Jan 7, 2018 at 3:59 pm

I was there, saw all competitors (unlike what you see on tv). I recommend attending this event in future if it’s convenient to you.
Enjoyable and interesting. A problem though is there’s clearly an aspect of subjectivity and marketing in choosing the Olympics men’s (and women’s,!) figure skating teams after the nation championships....

28 people like this
Posted by Nayeli
a resident of Midtown
on Jan 7, 2018 at 5:21 pm

Nayeli is a registered user.

Congratulations, Vincent Zhou!

9 people like this
Posted by parent
a resident of Midtown
on Jan 7, 2018 at 6:55 pm


10 people like this
Posted by Catherine
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Jan 8, 2018 at 10:23 am

Go Vincent! Looking forward to your performance in Feb!

14 people like this
Posted by Local Mom
a resident of Green Acres
on Jan 8, 2018 at 10:24 am

What a champion's spirit! Love the letter quoted. Congratulations, Vincent, we will be rooting for you!

10 people like this
Posted by Jenny
a resident of Los Altos Hills
on Jan 8, 2018 at 11:16 am

Fantastic performance, from an intelligent and gifted young man with drive! We should be proud of our homegrown Bay Area Olympians. Does anyone know if there is a way to support him on this journey (tax-deductible preferred)?

3 people like this
Posted by anon
a resident of Evergreen Park
on Jan 8, 2018 at 12:58 pm

Go Vincent!!!!!

Like this comment
Posted by I went to school with you at Hoover Do you remember me?
a resident of Hoover School
on Jan 8, 2018 at 6:18 pm

congrats man

3 people like this
Posted by Rivalry
a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Jan 8, 2018 at 8:20 pm

Winter Lodge alum! One of the unique things about Palo Alto—our kids learn to ice skate in elementary school!

He attended the choice school, Hoover. Would he have attended Paly or Gunn :D

Paly grads: Jim Harbaugh (1982), pro football player, pro coach; Lily Zhang (2014), Olympic table tennis and 2012 U.S. National Champion in women's singles. Web Link

Congratulations to Vincent, our eyes will be peeled to the T.V. even if you would be a Titan. Best wishes!

1 person likes this
Posted by SkateR
a resident of Gunn High School
on Jan 8, 2018 at 10:41 pm

It was so delightful to watch him perform this weekend at the US 2018 Nationals in San Jose. He did a passionate, energetic and fun program! And he had one heck of a large cheering section all dressed up in matching t-shirts. He didn't disappoint!
So happy I got to see him skate! I wonder if it was Winter Lodge where he skated as a 51/2 year old birthday participant?!
Winter Lodge is a fabulous place in case you haven't been lately-go visit and skate!

Like this comment
Posted by Sylvia T
a resident of another community
on Jan 12, 2018 at 9:16 am

Sending Vincent and the supporting team that includes coaches, doctors to the Olympics cost a lot.
family accommodation alone is $800-$1000 per night per person near the Olympic village.
Each family only gets $7500 from Team USA to cover the expense.
Vincent's mom has given up high tech career to support Vincent since he was 9 year old.
If you want to support the family and the team, donation can go to New England Amateur Skating Foundation, benefit: Vincent Zhou

Like this comment
Posted by Sylvia T
a resident of another community
on Jan 12, 2018 at 9:37 am

here is the donation form:
Web Link

Go Vincent!

Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

Stay informed

Get daily headlines sent straight to your inbox.

From Tokyo to Cupertino: Afuri Ramen's first California location debuts tonight
By Elena Kadvany | 2 comments | 3,081 views

Disposing of Disposables
By Sherry Listgarten | 13 comments | 1,327 views

Couples Counseling, Al Pacino Style
By Chandrama Anderson | 0 comments | 1,183 views