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Vincent Zhou changes coaches, to return at U.S. Figure Skating Championships

2019 ISU World Figure Skating Championships Saitama

SAITAMA, JAPAN - MARCH 23: Vincent Zhou of the United States competes in the Men Free Skating on day four of the 2019 ISU World Figure Skating Championships at Saitama Super Arena on March 23, 2019 in Saitama, Japan. (Photo by Atsushi Tomura - International Skating Union/International Skating Union via Getty Images)

International Skating Union via

Olympian and world bronze medalist Vincent Zhou announced a coaching change, a gap year from Brown University and a return to competition at the U.S. Figure Skating Championships in three weeks.

Zhou will now be coached by Lee Barkell and Lori Nichol in Toronto, and continue to work with Mie Hamada, after previously being coached in Colorado Springs by Tammy Gambill, Christy Krall and Tom Zakrajsek, according to U.S. Figure Skating.

Zhou trained with Gambill for the first part of his career, then moved to Colorado Springs in May 2015 to work with Zakrajsek. He still consulted with Gambill leading up to his Olympic appearance in 2018, then went back to a more formal role with Gambill and Hamada after last season.

Barkell’s students have included Canadian Olympians Jeffrey Buttle and Gabrielle Daleman. Nichol previously helped choreograph Zhou’s programs.

“I can’t thank Tammy, Christy and Tom enough for all they have done for me and my career,” Zhou said in a press release, adding on social media that the last few months were “very difficult.” “I’m excited to begin training with Lee, and also work more regularly with Lori, in Toronto, and continue to work with Mie.”

Zhou, 19, skipped the fall Grand Prix Series to focus on freshman year studies at Brown after competing at a lower-level event in September.

Zhou has been the closest American to Nathan Chen in recent years, taking a distant silver at nationals in 2017 and 2019 and bronze in 2018. The 2017 World junior champion broke through on the senior international level last season, taking bronze at worlds behind Chen and Yuzuru Hanyu.

The U.S. can send three men to senior worlds in March in Montreal.

Other contenders include 2014 Olympian Jason Brown and would-be world championships rookies Camden Pulkinen, Tomoki Hiwatashi and Alex Krasnozhon.

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