SkateFiguring took the violet pill
SkateFiguring took the violet pill
With all the split ups by the US pairs, I became intersted in the Chinese partnerships and read up on their biginnings. I will try to tell their stories up to the turning points after the inititial struggles.
Zhao was a successful pair skater who lost his partner to injury. His coach Yao started looking for a new partner for him among many enthusiastic girls who auditioned. He saw what he liked in a young unknown unnoticed ugly duckling, Shen, and picked her after interviewing her parents. Part of his decision was because he like her ordinary background. She loved skating from the moment she stepped on the ice as a weak little girl and had to go skating every day. When her mother noticed her wounded foot one day and refused to take her, she cried and insisted until the parents gave in, only to discover upon returning home that her sock had stuck on to her bloodied foot so badly they had a hard time removing it. The partnership wasn't working out at the beginning because the 14 year old Shen just could not keep up with Zhao the 20 year old advanced skater. With a lot at stakes, even the patient stoic Yao began to worry, since there was much opposition to his pick of Shen. One day, uncharacteristically, he yelled at Hongbo, "Why should Xue be adjusting to you and try to keep up with you? Why can't you slow down to stay with her?!" It struck him then to change up the training and started demanding Zhao to adjust to Shen, making it wholely Zhao's responsibility to match her. Well, things started turning around until she caught up with him and they skated as a real pair.
The difficult journey continued for Shen and Zhao. But I will tell the story of Pang and Tong's beginning.
In 1991, Pang was a single skater and Tong a single turned ice dancer whose partner had just quit. They were both quite stuck without much future to look forward to. Yao Bin was beginning his Pairs program and got them together. Tong liked Pang right away and picked her without a second thought though he had two girls to choose from. It was rare for an ice dancer to change to pairs but he decided to give it a try. However, with limited resources, only Shen/Zhao was selected into the national team and Pang and Tong were left in Harbin wihout a coach for five years! They didn't even have the basic Pairs skills. They trained by themselves, sometimes with the Ladies, sometimes with the Men, and even with the Ice Dancers, trying to get a little guidance from whichever coach with a little time left. The two of them, at 14 and 15, fought constantly. For competition, they copied others' recorded programs, being able to do only 4 of the 8 required elements. The next time they met their coach was in 1994 at the Nationals. Yao took time out during the competition to teach them a double jump.
Upon their return, the two youngsters kept fighting until a blow up in 1995 when they refused to talk to each other for a whole week. Once they messed up their SP so badly that they were too embarassed to perform the LP.
With the success of Shen/Zhao and with Yao's advocating, eventually they got sent to Beijing and finally received proper coaching. Being more grown up and having made the decision to continue, they were determined to succeed. But soon their spirits and pride were crushed by their dismal result at a competition in Beijing. They started talking about their future on a quiet and dimly lit street. It was a heart to heart talk with just the two of them, recalling the difficult years they had gone through, until they broke down crying uncontrollably. They finally decided they never had a chance before and they should give themselve the chance to prove themselves. They now regard the 1997 big cry as the lowest pont of their lives and career and nothing could beat them after that.
Things didn't turn around fast for them. They used Shen/Zhao's left over programs, never getting their own choreography since they didn't show good results. They kept a program for 4 years yet incredibly was once told by a judge that their "new" program was much better than previous year's. It wasn't until 1999 that they went to the US with Yao to have a program choreographed for them. Finally having a program of their own, they debuted in the Seniors GP and beat all who had beat them in the Juniors. Their confidence soared.
Last edited by Violet Bliss; 05-18-2011 at 12:12 AM.
Skeptic Satirist Critic Muppet Fan
Thanks for the stories, fascinating insights. I have always wondered what are the reality of skaters are like for China, they are almost all state funded right? How does the reward system works, are there sponsorship with the growing wealth of Chinese businesses?
I remember seeing one of S&Z's home in China, it was a tiny room that even reminded me of my university student hall of residence (dorm room in US), I was so surprised it is the room of a world class Olympic Champion athlete, especially in such a glamorous sport like figure skating (the gear, the setting)
There were talks on the Chinese forums about they did their wedding on ice to raise money so they can buy a place of their own. I hope they managed it in the end. Great story about Pang and Tong, can't believe they taught themselves for 5 years! That is just crazy and so impressive!!!
I made english subtitles for one of S&Z's Chinese interviews,
Show's called "Amazing Couples", topics include:
- 2010 Olympic Champions
- First Steps on Ice / Early Career
- Teaming Up
- What they think of each other
- Practicing Quad-Throw Jump
- 2002 SLC Olympics
- 2003 World Championships (Xue's Injury)
- 2006 Torino Olympics (Hongbo's Injury)
- Blossoming Relationship
- 2007 World Championships Marriage Proposal
- Future Plans / Giving back to China
- Having Children
They had to temporary give up married life, and go back to training in dorms and eating cafeteria food. Their competitions winnings are given back to the state (China).
Originally Posted by os168
Last edited by bibi24; 05-21-2011 at 10:21 PM.
Pang & Tong were on "vacation" and visited China's badminton team as reporters,
Nice to see them so relax and laughing, different than the usual uptight interviews (though TONG still cracks a lot of jokes during interviews).
There will be a FAN Meet and Greet with Pang&Tong on May 27th in Beijing.
Details and signups here,
Dunno if they'll get bombarded with questions about getting married. But with all the media and fan attention on the subject, it's hard for TONG Jian to surprise PANG Qing
Last edited by bibi24; 05-23-2011 at 06:05 AM.
SkateFiguring took the violet pill
bibi, thanks for the links. However, I don't see English caption on any of the videos.
Tong is the extroverted one of the pair, so no surprise he's cracking jokes. Pang usually smiles by his side so it's good to see her so engaged and talking. I'm sure there will be marriage and proposal questions at the M&G but Tong is not really trying to surprise Pang. He just wants to make it formal and romantic so it will be memorable for her.
Did you click the [CC] icon beside the quality button? ie. 240p/360p,
Originally Posted by SkateFiguring
You can also enable Captions by default in your YouTube account -> settings page -> playback setup -> Captions.
Please let me know how this works, thanks.
er,well,I don't know where did you get these informations.but there are not all true.
at least,SZ didn't earn money from Artristy on Ice last year,instead,they invest a lot of their last few years incomes in order to make the show happen.Their main target is to make figure skating more popular in China and Asia.(en,yes,there are some media said the same thing as you saw,but it mainly jealous I think,they try to attack SZ for making money from wedding show--It may make us feel uncomfortable,thinking they are too money-mad)
and maybe some athelete become poor and sad after their retired,SZ isn't.They have many bonuses,represent many companies.not to mention,from many years ago,their can get half of the income from the competitions and shows,and much better now.
besides,they needn't pay for the rink,the coach etc...I think maybe SZ and PT are much richer than most of the foreign figure skaters~
It's a recent PT interview:http://blog.sina.com.cn/s/blog_4739b1550100rpyc.html
Tong said he once planed to proposed to Pang at Tokyo Worlds.after it canceled,he's upset,and write down that on his chines version of twitter.Then it's not a secret ,so he didn't proposed in Moscow.But it may happen at any times.
sorry for my poor English,hope you can understand
Thanks for sharing the fascinating stories. Both them and S&Z are great pairs and it's nice to know they're doing well, too.
I love the partnership bonds they formed on and off ice. It so comes through with their skating. Same for S/Z.