Zhang Hao has a new partner
Yao Bin has announced Zhang Dan's retirement to pursue her education and that Zhang Hao is now paired with 16 year old Peng Cheng.
According to Yao, as Dan's increased height and weight put greater and greater demand on Hao, they started thinking before the Winter Games of dissolving the partnership for separate futures. After numerous meetings, the officials respected their wish and granted their request.
They realize the great challenge and the new team has been practicing 5 to 6 hours a day. It's one day at a time, according to Yao, just doing their best. He believes they will be greatly improved by the new season and then it's up to the international judges.
Yao is proud of the achievement of having 3 Chinese Pairs in the top 5 at the Vancouver Olympics. He has now put off his wish to retire in two years (from the last Olympics?) in order to keep the Pairs program going for the future of China's figure skating. He became emotional, his voice cracking, talking about Dan and remembering the beginning and that Z/Z was the fastest improving team he had. He regards her as his own child after all these years, never expecting such development. He hopes she will become a coach to keep contributing to figure skating but it is all up to her and he wishes her the best in her choice for the future.
Last edited by SkateFiguring; 05-06-2012 at 09:27 AM.
This is sad. I liked Zhangs and wish Dan only the best with whatever she choose to pursue. Good luck to Cheng and Zhang too.
Dan is said to have requested the retirement and to go for her higher education. Reportedly she has sounded upbeat in her "twitter" but Peng's former partner is really sad.
Good to know she's in good spirit. I saw Dan live at Yuna's shows couple of times and she's such a lovely girl. I hope she stay involved with skating. Sorry about Cheng's former partner. It must be devastating for him.
Originally Posted by SkateFiguring
So the rumors are not rumors anymore. Thanks for the translation SF. Sad to see this team split up.
Good luck to Dan in her future endeavors. Wishing Zhang and Peng success in their new partnership.
Zhang Dan's interview
She has thought of retirement for a few months and discussed it with her coach several times. It was not a rash decision and the coach understood well.
The main reason is her height. It makes the lifts and throws more difficult and hinders her speed of rotation. As well, it is much harder for the partner to be steady under her and there is an adverse effect on their collaboration.
Though she retires earlier than other Chinese Pairs girls, she is no more a young competitor. She considers the strengths of international competitors and thinks it's hard enough for her and Hao to maintain their level, so improvement is even more difficult. With a new partner, Hao will have some hope to compete against the international contenders.
After almost 15 years of partnership with Hao and their hard work and accomplishments, including the Olympic Silver medal, she has few regrets. The Turin experience is the most memorable, meaningful, and life changing for her.
Dan intends to rest for a while as she is rather tired after all these years. Then she will continue her Master studies in Bejing Sports University. As she could not study with full focus during her competitive career, she now wishes to learn and substantiate herself with culture and knowledge, which should help her in whatever she will endeavor in the future.
She expects to get used to the new life. It's one day at a time for now. She is not someone to plan far ahead and she dislikes restrictions, so coaching is probably not for her. But she will not distance herself too far from the (national) team.
There are no words to express her appreciation and gratitude for her coach Yao Bin. She is concerned for his health as he now has to begin anew training Hao and his new partner. She hopes he will take good care of himself and wishes him good health. To Zhang Hao, she has best wishes and blessing, hoping he will have even greater success with the new partner. Go, Big Hao!
Last edited by SkateFiguring; 05-06-2012 at 10:24 AM.
^Thanks. Dan has a sense of humor "Go, Big Hao!" LOL
She sounds happy with her decision.
I am very happy for Zhang Dan and hope she will do extremely well in this new stage of her life. This new pairing with a promising outlook may be exactly what the Chinese pairs program needs.
Last edited by SkateFiguring; 05-06-2012 at 03:03 PM.
Peng Cheng with her former partner Zhang Tianci at the National Winter Games where they finished 6th.
They had been together for only over a year. Zhang was a Single skater before that. Such height and fast rotation in their throws. She has some lovely positions. Maybe he is considered small for a Pairs skater?
Peng is supposed to be 17 a couple of weeks ago. Still, such an age difference with Hao.
I will have to jump over to the "prettiest girl" thread and make a new post!
Originally Posted by SkateFiguring
Originally Posted by Mathman
Watching Dan on the ice (on my computer screen) does not do her justice. I had no idea that she was was such a beautiful woman.
The photo on her interview page is lovely too. Looks like it was taken on the same day as the 4th picture I linked.
This new pairing really demonstrates the hierarchy that Zhang Hao > Zhang Tainci and Yao Bin > Luan Bo.
Classiness shows in Dan's photos and her interview. And 2006 Olympic Free Skate, that was a class all by herself!
Last edited by SkateFiguring; 05-06-2012 at 07:03 PM.
I wouldnt be surprised at all if we dont see any Chinese pair on the podium for many many years to come. Pang & Tong are done IMO. I dont see Hao Zhang's career going anywhere substantial at this point, even if they pair him with Ekaterina Gordeeva. Sui & Han are already in trouble and if she grows anymore they are done. The Chinese era in pairs is definitely over. A return to the Russian era is gradually coming back, and when the Germans retire it will be back in full flow.
If Sui grows substantially, Han will be replaced. Most Chinese skaters are from one Northeastern province with tall people. A small expressive Pairs girl is very valuable.
Things go in cycle. China may not be so dominant in Pairs now but young talents are rising in Singles and even in Dance. I am not so negatively astute as you, PTfan. I always leave room for pleasant surprises, wherever they may come from.