GANGNEUNG, South Korea (AP) — The persona of American determine skater Vincent Zhou, who made his Olympic debut with an outstanding brief program Friday, was neatly summed up by his social media response to a fan who lately requested what period he would go to if he might journey again in time.

“If I time traveled,” he wrote , “I’d doubtless find yourself in outer area as a result of Earth is shifting at 67,000 mph and time journey is simply time journey and never spacetime journey. In the event you traveled again in time 1 seconds, you would be (about) 1,116.667 miles into area away from the floor of Earth the place you had been simply standing. To efficiently find yourself on Earth after time journey, science must discover a option to make up these miles. Teleportation of matter will not be doable. But.”

Clearly, this is not your common 17-year-old child.

“However to reply the unique query,” Zhou continued in one other tweet , “I’d return to 1984 to totally expertise the discharge of ‘Take On Me’ by a-ha.”

So he isn’t simply sensible, he is humorous.

Not simply sensible however bemusing.

“A part of it’s from all I’ve gone via,” he defined. “I’ve gained a reasonably good perspective on the world, and that helps me make applicable and witty remarks.”

Regardless of that, Zhou has been largely overshadowed by his teammates in the course of the Pyeongchang Olympics.

The brazenly homosexual Adam Rippon has grow to be a media darling , combining glorious skating to assist the U.S. win crew bronze with an unfiltered strategy to interviews . The gifted Nathan Chen had been tipped as a gold medal favourite till the whole lot went awry throughout his brief program .

Collectively, that they had held the highlight till Zhou landed the primary quad lutz in an Olympic occasion, and put collectively the most effective brief program of his profession to briefly take the lead.

He wound up 12th amongst 30 skaters, simply qualifying for Saturday’s free skate.

“I am completely satisfied that I dedicated to my jumps and I am completely satisfied that I gave it my all,” Zhou stated.

Make no mistake, Zhou is attempting to complete as excessive as doable throughout these Olympics, and a top-10 result’s hardly out of attain. However he additionally is aware of the subsequent Olympics could possibly be extra his time, the second when the whole lot aligns and he contends for a medal.

That does not appear so far-off contemplating how far Zhou has already come.

You see, Zhou’s dad and mom emigrated from China within the early 1990s, settling in California to attend graduate faculty. Each grew to become profitable pc scientists in Silicon Valley, Zhou’s father with Google — the place he nonetheless works — and his mom as a groundbreaking programmer with Oracle.

It was after that they had Zhou and his older sister, Vivian, that their precocious boy took an curiosity in determine skating. And with no top-level teaching out there within the Bay Space, the household determined that his mother, Fei Ge, would transfer with Zhou to Southern California in pursuit of his dream.

Issues grew to become tight with just one revenue. Residing aside from the opposite half of the household was powerful.

Zhou’s mom admits she thought Zhou would take determine skating to a sure degree and develop bored with it, and the separation could be a short-term association. However he wound up excelling, and they’d proceed residing and coaching in Southern California earlier than shifting to Colorado years later.

In the meantime, his sister grew to become an completed diver, and he or she’s now pursuing a level in mind and cognitive science at Massachusetts Institute of Know-how.

“My household has sacrificed completely the whole lot for me,” Zhou stated, half-joking that his determine skating profession has made him the oddball in a household of sensible scientists. “I believe that is given me extra maturity than quite a lot of children my age.”

Not that Zhou is not sensible. He graduated from highschool at 16.

A number of children his age aren’t pondering the scientific issues of time journey, both.

The fact is Zhou has little curiosity in what most youngsters his age do. He would moderately spend his time writing poetry or deep in thought, or on the follow ice attempting to excellent his array of quadruple jumps.

“A whole lot of the strain in skating does come from the surface,” he stated. “There are followers who need to provide you with a standing ovation after skating a clear efficiency, there are individuals who count on you to enhance and be an entire skater. There’s strain coming from all sides. However the greatest supply of strain is from myself. Generally I do not present it on the surface, however I am a very formidable particular person.”

That was evident in his quad-filled brief program on the Pyeongchang Video games.

“I at all times need to be the most effective, however I additionally do have a way of realism,” he stated, “and I do know that successful the Olympics is not actually life like. So it is lucky I haven’t got that strain on myself. I am unable to think about what it is like for the folks vying for the title. However I positively need to put out two nice performances and present folks what I am able to.

“It sounds tacky,” he added, “but it surely’s true.”


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