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Shen Xue and Zhao Hongbo: China's Olympic figure skating champion duo

2021-01-29 | CGTN

Shen Xue and Zhao Hongbo.png

Shen Xue and Zhao Hongbo

Shen Xue and Zhao Hongbo are China's best-known figure skaters.

Pairing up on the ice back in 1992, Shen and Zhao's skating career spanned 18 years, in which they have carved out a path decorated with a number of firsts for the country in the sport.

In 2002, they became the first Chinese figure skating pair to win the World Championships.

In Vancouver 2010, they made history once again by winning the country's first Olympic gold medal in the sport, breaking Russia's 46-year stranglehold on the Olympics figure skating pairs event.

Starting off winning a fifth place at the 1998 Winter Olympics in Nagano, Japan and settling for two bronze medals at the Salt Lake 2002 and Turin 2006, the long-awaited Olympic winning was their fourth attempt on the Olympic stage.

It solidified their legendary status and put a perfect end to their nearly two-decade pursuit of glories and world records on the ice.

Having married in 2007, the couple stepped off the ice after the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics but continued their work to groom China's next-generation figure skating champions as well as promoting the sport throughout China.

Now, as head coach of China's national figure skating team, Zhao is endeavoring to keep in check the ambitions of a young but promising national squad for the upcoming Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics.

"We are making progress, but we are far from becoming a major force in the world with our men's, women's and ice dancing skaters all struggling to catch up with the world's best," Zhao said.

Shen Xue is now president of the Chinese Figure Skating Association (CFSA), a newly-founded organization in 2018 with the mission to promote the sport throughout China and provide support for Chinese figure skaters to prepare for the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics.

"We will provide all-around training for athletes to strive for the championship," said Shen.

With new roles but the same passion and love for the sport, their stories with figure skating continue to be written.