I was shocked by how good Cheng and Hao and Wenjing and Cong were. The Chinese pairs school is making a successful push to address the historically been weak areas of its "school".
Cheng has lovely, fluid arms, and her costume looks much better when she's moving through the air than it does in photos. Although her lower-body movement and positioning are weaker, I enjoyed the program and the music(!). Hao, as always, is not only a reliable partner but a presence of his own. I hope they stay together even if they don't make the Olympic team.
I do have one question regarding Cheng and Hao - Both seem to skate with good knee bend, carriage, speed, and edges, but it looks like they make quite an effort in some of their crossovers. Can anyone explain how a smooth glide is technically distinct from those other aspects of skating (or how my analysis is flawed)? Thank you. I'm happy to have found this site!
PAIRS SHORT PROGRAM - VIDEOS (By Starting Order) - Updated
Warm-Up Group 1
1. Narumi TAKAHASHI / Ryuichi KIHARA (JPN) Short Program
2. Anastasia MARTIUSHEVA / Alexei ROGONOV (RUS) Short Program
3. Cheng PENG / Hao ZHANG (CHN) Short Program, 2nd Copy
4. Haven DENNEY / Brandon FRAZIER (USA) Short Program, 2nd Copy
Warm-Up Group 2
5. Wenjing SUI / Cong HAN (CHN) Short Program, 2nd Copy
6. Marissa CASTELLI / Simon SHNAPIR (USA) Short Program, 2nd Copy
7. Paige LAWRENCE / Rudi SWIEGERS (CAN) Short Program
8. Tatiana VOLOSOZHAR / Maxim TRANKOV (RUS) Short Program, 2nd Copy
Overall Result, Segment Result, Protocols
Yes, Wenjing and Cong and the new pair of Cheng and Hao are doing great. They have officially a new coach, in the person of the Olympic Champ, in Vancouver, ZhaoHongBo. The Olympic Champ is the new head coach of pairs in Chinese National Team setup, while his wife just gave birth to a baby, but took on ice again, barely a month after birthing. What a dedicated pair of skaters.
This dedication is not automatic for skaters, even for state supported Chinese National Team skaters. Back in long history, ChenLu won the 1998 World Championship, but did not opt for national team coaching position, intead went to US, tried the professional circuit first, then tried setting up skating school in west coast US. Spent several years in the diaspora. Eventually went back to China, home, then jumped in as head coach of commercial rink in ShenZhen's shopping mall, classy, and expensive setup, married Russian husband Denis Petrov, have two kids. But then she tried only amateurs, and not very productive at that, since 2008. Not new promising skaters came from her rink academy, though.
But in ladies singles field, China is in deep doldrum. Their brightest star LiZiJun, got hurt in China Cup, last week, as a sign of her retrogressing skating condition. Their ladies came last three out of the total eight. LiZiJun was said to be burnt out, at the tender age of 16. Their absence is outstanding for NHK competition.
By many observers' opinion, Chinese skating, and also Chinese Olympic competitive sports overall, is in deep trouble, not because of lack of talents, but because of systemic obsolescent drawbacks in the national sports setup. Top and rare talents are put into rigid sports establishments when young, in military training style, closed and severe, for many years. This rigid and severe system worked in the old days of material insufficiency, and relative poverty before. But in todays' blooming overt wealthy society, with lots of fast cars, and fast women and men going around, the top talents, intelligent and smart to the core, rebelled under the old system, which is not changing fast enough to suit their style and mentality. And therefore the blowouts between coaches and top talented atheletes abound in Chinese sports news.
It was said that ChenLu was smart enough to recognize that there were and presently no environment for nurturing a good long lasting Chinese ladies' champ, like herself (her dad was a professional ice hockey man, supporting mom), and therefore went all hog for the money in commercial rink operation, instead of helping to train for the next generation Chinese skating champions.
The way I heard the story, Chen Lu and the Chinese Skating Federation were on miserable terms for years, and they didn't really want her anywhere near Beijing training potential national-caliber skaters...unless it was on their terms. I'm sure those terms weren't favorable to her bank account, nor to her mind or soul. Shenzhen, at the opposite end of the country's wealthy cities belt, left enough territory between the two that they didn't have to deal with each other at least not regularly. I've never heard any mention from Chen Lu herself that she regrets not being part of the national team coaching staff, so if anybody can find comments from her to that effect, I'd be interested to see it.
Originally Posted by tung
It is a shame though, that the ladies' program in China just can't get any legs under it like the pairs' program seems to manage. I actually think that Cheng/Zhang will end up above Sui/Han in the pecking order of Chinese pairs, by end of this season. Just a feeling....
You are probably right! I heard it from a former Youth World Champ medalists, women figure skater, that ChenLu was not allowed to enter her pupils into Chinese ISU competitions for a while, until a few years ago, didling with ISI kids were her days. She charges exorbitant fees, and staffed his coaching team with 'unqualified coaches' like speed skaters, non professonal skaters were her coaching staff in her rink. Their pupils after discovering they were led down the garden path, changed coaches/rinks, and their new qualified coaches found the kids with horrendous stroke problems/bad habits, learnt from those amateurs skate coaches at ChenLu's rink. Her criteria for good pupils are that they come with BMW, Mercedes driven parents or chauffeurs.
But the funny thing is that CCTV and official Chinese sports world still treats her as the one and only skating expert/idol for all to emulate and adore. She is the most sought after guest commentator for skating TV coverages. But her coaches, working under her, some of them, think that she is dark hearted, money grabbing besides, she for a while can't stand any new champions, Chinese champions, to eclipse her ancient fame, won in the 1990s. To this tune, she deliberately, or did not got invited to Zhao/Shen wedding ceremony, and said darkly that the couple's new kid would not be pretty because her mother is ugly.........