Vincent Zhou is one of the veterans now, named to his second U.S. Olympics, this time in Beijing.
"As I prepare for the 2022 Olympics, with the biggest competition of my life just around the corner, I find myself applying and exercising discipline, critical thinking, communication and commitment every day in order to maximize every aspect of my training," Zhou wrote in an Instagram post on Jan. 14. "Additionally, I am fueled by a deep desire to perform well amidst an extremely competitive field." The 21-year-old has a strong fan base on his side. He received a series of encouraging messages last week in an Instagram video where he landed two big jumps on the rink.
Four years ago, he found success as a teenage sensation in figure skating at the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea.
The former Palo Alto resident figuratively jumped his way into the hearts of people around the world by successfully landing a quadruple lutz in his opening element.
He's on top of the United States male figure skating world, collecting medals after placing sixth at the Olympic Winter Games in 2018.
His debut, short-program performance earned him a personal best score of 84.53. He was sixth overall among male figure skaters after the free skate competition.
Zhou, who briefly attended Hoover Elementary School before switching to an online charter school, is out of high school and attending Brown University, where he began in the fall of 2019.
Had he been a regular student and not the reigning U.S. bronze medalist and five-time U.S. medalist, he would have likely followed his older sibling to Gunn.
Zhou, who earned bronze at the 2019 World and ISU Four Continents championships, won his first Grand Prix title this season at the 2021 Guaranteed Rate Skate America and captured silver at NHK Trophy, which qualified him for his first Grand Prix Final. The event was ultimately canceled.
The 2022 Winter Olympic Games begin Feb. 4 in Beijing and run through Feb. 20.
Zhou will be keeping a busy schedule. He was named to the 2022 World Championships, to be held between March 21 and 27 in Montpellier, France.
While the youngest member of Team USA didn't receive a medal in South Korea, his performance was an impressive feat.
"These are memories that I will think back on many decades later and smile an old, withered smile complete with knowledge that I made the most of my life, especially as a 17-year-old Olympian," Zhou wrote in an Instagram post. "I placed 6th among the best skaters in the history of this sport and I am so very proud to do so representing the USA. My place is here and my time is now."
Zhou was born in San Jose to parents who are Chinese immigrants. The family moved to Palo Alto when he was 2 years old, according to his webpage govincentzhou.com. He began skating at 5 years old after attending a birthday party at a local skating rink.
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. In 2017, he won silver at the U.S. Figure Skating Championships and was the World Junior champion, according to his website.