Zhou captures world juniors title

AP

American Vincent Zhou won the world junior championship gold medal Thursday.

The 16-year-old from Palo Alto, California, soared from fifth place with a brilliant free skate that included three quadruple jumps. His performance earned him 179.24 points in the long program and 258.11 points overall. The U.S. seniors silver medalist beat out three Russians.

Skating to the soundtrack from “Casablanca,” Zhou hit a quadruple lutz, quad salchow-triple salchow, another quad salchow, two triple axels and four more triple jumps. He also received level 4 marks for footwork in a sensational routine.

“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. “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.”

Russia’s Dmitri Aliev and Alexander Samarin finished second and third.

Zhou previously won the 2011 U.S. intermediate title, the 2012 novice championship, and was the American junior champ in 2013. He will compete next January for a spot on the U.S. Olympic team for the 2018 Winter Games.