Vincent Zhou won the Nebelhorn Trophy on Friday evening and ensured the United States will send three men’s figure skaters to the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics in just over four months.
The 2018 Olympian totaled 284.23 points to earn the first ISU Challenger Series victory of his career; he had previously finished twice at two Challenger Series competitions and third at another.
France’s Adam Siao Him Fa trailed by 40.45 points for second and Russian Mark Kondratiuk was third with 241.06 points in Oberstdorf, Germany.
With seven men’s spots up for grabs, Nebelhorn Trophy served as the final opportunity for countries to earn or confirm quotas for Beijing.
Nathan Chen and Jason Brown did their part to get the maximum three Olympic spots for U.S. men when they were first and seventh at the 2021 World Championships in March, but for a country to earn three spots the placements of its top two skaters must add up to 13 or less and it must also have three skaters in the free skate in Stockholm.
Zhou, the 2019 World bronze medalist, had a disastrous short program there and was 25th, just missing the cutoff for the free skate.
Last month he was chosen by U.S. Figure Skating to vie for confirmation of the country’s third Olympic spot and did not disappoint. Both of his programs were the highest scoring in Oberstdorf and included two quadruple jumps in the short program and four in the free skate, though most were called under-rotated.
The U.S. also qualified three men for the PyeongChang 2018 Winter Olympics, after only earning two spots for Sochi four years prior. The U.S. has sent three men’s figure skaters to 16 of the last 20 Olympics.
France, the Russian Olympic Committee, South Korea, Azerbaijan, Australia and Canada also earned men’s Olympic spots with their performances at Nebelhorn.
Japan, ROC and the U.S. will send three skaters to Beijing, with Canada, France, Italy and Korea having two each. The following countries qualified one men’s figure skater: Australia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, China, Czech Republic, Estonia, Georgia, Israel, Latvia, Mexico, Sweden, Switzerland, Ukraine.
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