The United States men’s Olympic figure skating team is going hard, and they’re not going home. Between America’s new Olympic darling, the charming Adam Rippon, and the standout talents of fan favorite Nathan Chen, I feel kind of bad for the other dudes. How do you stand out in a field of standout talent? Well, U.S. skater Vincent Zhou found a way — in his short program at the 2018 PyeongChang Olympics on Feb. 16, Zhou made history by being the first skater in Olympic history to successfully land a quadruple lutz at the Olympics — and the video of Vincent Zhou’s short program shows just how amazing it was.
The quad lutz is one of the hardest jumps in figure skating, according to Time. The lutz is a "toe-pick-assisted liftoff" jump, in which the skater lands on the outside edge of the opposite foot. (If you're having a hard time picturing it, Time has a handy animation that clears things up some.) The "quad" refers to how many times the skater spins while in the air. To be honest, even jumping at all sounds impressive to me, never mind spinning — so actually managing to spin around four times and then land cleanly without falling is clearly a big deal.
You can see for yourself just how impressive it was.
I seriously can't stop watching the video.
According to the Associated Press, there are two other skaters who have quad lutz jumps worked into their short program, but even if they pull them off, it won't take away Zhou's victory — he will always be the first one to pull it off.
The 17-year-old skater took away a solid score from his routine as well. The judges gave Zhou 84.53, which put him among the frontrunners for the event.
But the real victory came on social media.
Fans were all about Zhou's history-making jump.
Even better? It was a personal best for Zhou himself.
Who's to say which is better, beating your opponents or beating your own best work? If you're Zhou, you can aim for both.
It was a great opportunity for Zhou to shine, too.
Zhou's teammates have been getting a lot of the attention for figure skating on Team USA. Fellow figure skater Adam Rippon is an electric personality who is just as charming on Twitter as he is on the ice, not to mention in front of the cameras. Rippon is also a history-making contender, but for a different reason — Rippon is the first openly gay U.S. figure skater to compete in the Olympics, and one of the only out gay Olympians on Team USA. (Rippon has also made headlines for having absolutely no time for Vice President Mike Pence, due to the VP's history of taking stances against LGBTQ+ rights.)
One of Zhou's other teammates, Nathan Chen, has been talked up as the Next Big Thing in men's figure skating, and was a favorite contender for the gold medal going into the competition. However, Chen didn't perform as well as he had hoped — taking falls in both the team competition and the singles short program — and falling short of Zhou's score. Chen also appeared to attempt the quad lutz in his routine, but couldn't quite land it.
And OK, I know this is literally a competition, in which they are competing with each other, but I just want to enjoy how awesome everyone on Team USA is. These guys are killing it on the ice and in their sparkly skating costumes, and I love the hell out of watching them.
Congrats to Zhou on his personal victory, and good luck aiming for the one they put you on the podium for!