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Thread: The splitting event of Yu/Jin - a summary

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    The splitting event of Yu/Jin - a summary

    As a Chinese figure skating fan, I want to write a simple summary about the splitting event of the Chinese pair Xiaoyu Yu and Yang Jin to share what we saw and experienced recently.

    1. Before 2016 WC, Chinese Fedearation held an internal testing event for the four Chinese pairs. As many fans already knew, Xiaoyu and Yang lost their place to represent Team China at the Worlds (for which they were originally selected to compete) by finishing fourth behind Wang/Wang, by a slim margin of 0.06 point. No score sheet was made publicly available. Remaining optimistic, Yang Jin expressed his willingness to improve their techniques with Xiaoyu for the next season for the coming season by posting” Thank you for your encouragements! Xiaoyu and I experienced ups and downs. We will try our best for the next season“ at his Weibo on 3/26/2016.

    2. On 4/3/2016, Yu/Jin went to Canada to work with their choreographer to create new programs. They often keep fans updated by sharing photos and thoughts on social network sites. In the photo they posted at the time, they seemed to be perfectly happy and was looking forward with exicitement for getting new programs. Xiaoyu and Yang shared their daily life details with their fans through the social network frequently.

    3. Then the “rumor” about the splitting of Yu/Jin came about, orginally posted at “Baidu Tieba” on 4/9/2016. It is rumored that the Chinese fed was splitting Yu/Jin and Peng/Zhang, and they were trying to persuade Xiaoyu to pair with Hao Zhang. Initially, nobody believed the “rumor”. Many fans sought confirmation and better still clarification from Xiaoyu and Yang but suddenly both of them stopped updating their Weibo.

    4. Anxious fans sought answers from every possible channel. They posted questions on Shen/Zhao's Weibo account. Zhao is currently the head coach of Chinese pair team. They have yet to respond even until now. The fans also expressed their supports for Xiaoyu and Yang on their Weibo. On 4/13/2016, Xiaoyu replied to one of the fans who said something alone the line of "I understand you are under tremendous amount of pressure, please try no to yield. But if things turn out to be inevitable, I will always support you", saying “Thank you! Thank you all!” On 4/14/2016, Xiaoyu clicked the "like" button for two Weibo posts expressing opposition against splitting her and Jin.

    5. The news of splitting was released officially on 4/26. In this official news, the spokesman admitted that the athletes were opposing to the idea of splitting at the beginning.

    Through the whole splitting event, one point is very clear: Xiaoyu and Yang completely had no idea about the idea of splitting before they went to Canada. And it is almost 100% sure that the splitting is against their own willingness.

    I started to watch figure skating in 2002. During these 14 years, I fell in love with this beautiful sport and it has rendered my life colorful. Therefore, I am infuriated by this scandal; the sentiment is shared by many Chinese fans. This article is intended to record facts so as to shed some light into how events unfolded. I deliberately keep speculation to its minimum. I do not care about the reason for Yu/Jin’s splitting. I just believe that everybody should have his/her own right to choose. I appreciate for your attention, and please spread it to more people who love figure skating. This is not only for the lovely pair Xiaoyu Yu / Yang Jin, but also for the beautiful figure skating. Your attention may change our future.




    Supplementary materials:


    I. The history of Chinese pair skating
    Bo Luan/Bin Yao is the first Chinese pair who attended the winter Olympics in 1984. Both of them are coaches for pair skating in China now. Yao built his credit in the figure skating field by successfully training the three famous Chinese pairs: Xue Sheng/ Hongbo Zhao, Qing Pang/ Jian Tong and Dan Zhang/Hao Zhang. Among them, Sheng/Zhao won the gold medal of winter Olympics in 2010. Yao had been the head coach of Chinese pair team for many years. His famous student, Hongbo Zhao, took over this place after 2010.

    Bo Luan, Yao’s previous partner, is also a successful coach for pair skating. Sui/Han and Yu/Jin were her students before they were selected for the Chinese national figure skating team. Yu/Jin won the gold medals for WJC in 2014 and 2015.

    There are lots of back alley news about the relationship between Luan and Yao. It is said that Yao does not like Luan’s students Sui/Han and Yu/Jin.

    II. Changing partner event four years ago
    Four years ago, the partner of Hao Zhang changed from Dan Zhang to Cheng Peng. The official news was that Dan Zhang wanted to retire therefore Hao Zhang needed a new partner. But there were also grapevines saying that Hao Zhang was unsatisfied with Dan Zhang about her height. And Dan was forced to retire after Hao and Yao selected the new partner Cheng Peng together.
    Cheng Peng was training with Tianci Zhang in Bo Luan’s group before she was selected to be Hao Zhang’s partner. Tianci Zhang retired from figure skating after Peng’s leaving.

    III. Conjectures from the Fans
    There are lots of conjectures from the fans about the reason of Yu/Jin’s splitting. Some fans believe that this is Yao and Zhao’s idea since they might be unhappy to see Sui/Han and Yu/Jin surpass Yao’s original team member Hao Zhang. Some fans believe that Hao Zhang is the one who proposes this idea since he is unsatisfied with Peng. There are grapevines saying that changing partner was proposed in 2014. The team has considered different choices (including Wenjing Sui) and finally chose Xiaoyu Yu to be Hao’s partner. Some fans are worrying about Sui/Han since they are not original Yao’s group members and someday they may also face the similar destiny as Yu/Jin.

    After this event, Yao, Zhao and Hao Zhang have fallen into disrepute for many Chinese fans.

    Fans are worrying about Yu’s current situation. Many fans believe that Hao Zhang is not gentle to his partner. In the short program of WC 2016, it seems that Zhang did not care about Peng’s terrible falling at all. Yu was opposing to the idea of splitting. She may experience tremendous amount of pressure during the whole event. And now, she is forced to leave Jin, who had been her gentle partner for about 10 years, and has to pair with Hao Zhang, who seems to be a cold stranger.

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    All Hail the Queen Crossover's Avatar
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    Thank you for the detailed summary and welcome to GS with your very first post.

    I'm still devastated about the splitting and don't know how to react when I see the newly formed teams in competition next season. I doubt my heart can ever warm up for Yu/Zhang as I used to cheer for Yu/Jin. The negative image which Hao should carry on from now could affect their competition results as we all know figure skating is a tricky sport with metal strength. If the new team doesn't go well, I'm sure many skating fans would gloat over that as result of this controversies aside from deep sympathies for Yu. Even if his ultimate goal is to win a gold at the 2022 Olympics held at his home, I highly doubt that could be a possibly achievable dream for him at the age of 40 (or 38, whatever).
    Last edited by Crossover; 04-28-2016 at 06:04 AM.

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    What a pity! I love Yu/Jin so much and thought they would be the legend pair skaters in future. Their presence on ice is so elegant & unique. It is easier to learn the tricks, but it always difficult to get the pairs to "click", creating the IT factor. The way Chinese Federation treat their young skaters is so cruel.

    Isn't Hong Zhang 34? There was an age-related controversy some years ago that Hong Zhang was born in 1982, 2 years older than the birthday listed in his ISU profile. If this is the case, how the earth he is going to maintain and improve his competitive skill? He does not have the medal stack of 5 worlds' titles 2 Olympic Bronze Medal and the ISU judges have ruled him out some years ago.

    Sigh
    Last edited by evergreen; 04-28-2016 at 05:57 AM.

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    Thanks for the summary!

    Yu/Jin, David Wilson and Lori Nichol were all lied to by the Chinese Fed. They hatched this plan before 2016 Worlds, but kept it a secret from the skaters and their choreographers, tricked the skaters into going to Canada, trapped them there and forced the plan on them. For me this is close to kidnapping.

    We are not badmouthing our coaches and some of our skaters (why would we, they used to bring us so much pride and joy), but we feel like something is seriously wrong here, professionally, ethically and morally. This switching makes absolutely no sense. And the disgusting way it materialzes makes my skin crawl. Some people are ruining the integrity of this sport, and we need people to pay attention to it. Whenever someone is named as the mastermind of this plan, either Zhang or Yao or Zhao or some authority higher up, some people get super offended and rush to defend them. I completely understand that. But we should all agree on one thing--at least one of them has to be responsible because the skaters (Yu, Jin & Peng) sure as hell didn't plan this on their own!

    I restrain from commenting on Zhang anymore. I did before and some people jumped me and gave me lectures on morals. I just want to direct your attention to the girls--Dan Zhang who didn't voluntarily retire (go check her social media in 2012. She didn't delete anything); Peng who respects and admires her partner but now gets abandoned (again, not saying by him); Yu who is forced to leave her long-time partner she gets along so well with. There's a pattern here--the girls are always to blame. It's called pair skating for a reason. It's the work of both skaters. Why girls get all the blame? Imagine Yu's pressure going forward. I bet one day her height will be cited as a culprit if things aren't panning out.

    I've been a member of this forum for many years but only started posting recently after this scandal broke out. I always know shady things in Chinese sports happen all the time, but this time I feel like I'm in the middle of it. We used to be so proud of Chinese pair skating, but now we're totally heart-broken by it.

    If you don't like conspiracy theories, if you like "innocent until proven guilty", if you happen to have a high bar of "reasonable doubt", I respect that. Just focus on the facts we know for sure--a beautiful promising pair is separated under false pretence. The girl is thrust into the arms of a man against her will. The man's former partner gets abandoned. The girl's former partner gets labelled as "the weaker male partner of the team". This "weaker" team is told that they're not going to worlds next year no matter what, before the next season even starts, before they even skate together in public. Does that sound right to you?!

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    Great summary, thanks! It sure beats reading a 30+ page thread to find the answers we need.

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    Great summary! We Chinese fans really did all we could to support Yu/Jin but it was no use. Shocked to read the news and shame on the decision makers, whoever he/she is. With all my respect, I wish Hao Zhang good luck but he really should think over about all these partner things and girls shouldn't be the only one who is blamed after a fall or other mistakes. Wish Yu and Peng good luck too, poor girls.No one should be forced to do anything. And Jin. Apparently the leaders didn't care about his feelings at all. What a bad idea! Now there may be a chance that only one Chinese pair can go to the Olympics in 2018. Again SHAME on the decision makers. SHAME

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    Bona Fide Member Li'Kitsu's Avatar
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    Thank you very much for your detailed summary, listing both clear facts and speculations.
    And also thanks to all the chinese fans who tried their best to support the skaters using social media, even if there is no way the decision can be changed, but I'm sure it helped Yu a lot to know they still had support.

    I'm still angry at this decision. And it's even worse that I don't even know what to hope for - seriously, I can't get myself to root for Yu/Zhang and Peng/Jin, knowing that some of the skaters were forced into this. But I don't wish any of them anything bad (not Zhang either, though I said before I do think he was being neglectful and not supportive enough of Peng), and I surely don't want Yu to get all the blame with the new Pair fails and get tossed aside too. It's just so maddening, because I can't see anything really good coming out of it, and I don't understand the reasoning at all. Best wishes to all the skaters, I hope they can make the best out of their current situations, somehow.

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    Thank you so much. This is really great fan culture.
    My story is almost the same. I have also watched figure skating since 2002 and became a fan because of Savchenko/Szolkowy.

    This Chinese story reminds me a bit of former times when Chinese athletes were phantoms who appeared at Championschips and disappeared afterwords. Like the north-korean athletes today.

    Nevertheless I believe Peng/Yin and Yu/Zhang to be really good couples.

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    thank you for this summary. Pairs was the only discipline I didn't really care about until I watched Yu/Jin so this news has been really sad for me. Thanks again.

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    Very disappointing.... and all I can say is : they had better keep their hands off Sui/Han!!!

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    What I don't really get is the reason behind all this: just because Zhang was "not satisfied"? Is it a reason serious enough to make pairs split and to create all this drama? Do they seriously think one of these two pairs could aim at the Olympic podium in two years?

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    Thanks for the summary.

    The most frustrating part out of this whole mess is how all these officials and "adults" deceived Yu/Jin to Canada, tricked them to believe that they are finally getting new programs for the new season. Instead this whole plan is to isolate these young athletes from any support they can turn to, being far far away from China. And while the Chinese fans have been protesting about this ordeal online for weeks, everyone (officials/coaches) involved just play dead. Surely, the opinions of figure skating fans means absolutely nothing to CSA, nor the feelings of the young skaters.

    They seem to live in this fake bubble that as long as they keep feeding Zhang some young girls, someday he will get a gold medal. Well dream on CSA. And even if Zhang did get some improved results, the dirty scheme behind this partnership split has tainted this sport forever.

    This has happened before, it's happening now, and it will probably happen again.
    Last edited by dasani; 04-28-2016 at 10:57 AM.

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    I think they want to have plan B in case Sui/Han are not in shape or don't skate well. With another team in the high top 5-6, they can hope that Chinese pair #2 would medal.... but with the current teams, they thought they couldn't achieve it... so they rejigged the whole thing, thinking that Peng will never deliver with Zhang, and Zhang has a better chance to medal with a good partner than younger Jin. Yu/Jin were extremely promising and already accomplished skaters but I don't think they would have had a chance of winning a medal at 2018 Olympics, despite their sucesses... For instance, making the GPF with all the teams sitting out of the FULL grand prix season is not the same with pairs than let's say, singles where it gives a good idea of who will be top ten or even podium. )




    Again, I am not saying I am agreeing, but trying to imagine the thought process that went behind this for the Chinese authority....

    All I can hope for, is that some sort of Healing happens for all skaters and that they enjoy working together... for them, it's like a job right... since they are taken care of by the government... I can tell you that I am not necessarily always working with people I like but I have to be Professional... so I command the skaters for adapting to this situation and I hope that as fans, we will also heal, and support the skaters, even if we disagree with the situation


    Quote Originally Posted by FSGMT View Post
    What I don't really get is the reason behind all this: just because Zhang was "not satisfied"? Is it a reason serious enough to make pairs split and to create all this drama? Do they seriously think one of these two pairs could aim at the Olympic podium in two years?

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    Thank you for laying out the known facts without indoctrination and allegations, and clearly noting the conjectures when included. Much needed and appreciated.

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    Quote Originally Posted by 4everchan View Post
    I think they want to have plan B in case Sui/Han are not in shape or don't skate well. With another team in the high top 5-6, they can hope that Chinese pair #2 would medal.... but with the current teams, they thought they couldn't achieve it... so they rejigged the whole thing, thinking that Peng will never deliver with Zhang, and Zhang has a better chance to medal with a good partner than younger Jin. Yu/Jin were extremely promising and already accomplished skaters but I don't think they would have had a chance of winning a medal at 2018 Olympics, despite their sucesses... For instance, making the GPF with all the teams sitting out of the FULL grand prix season is not the same with pairs than let's say, singles where it gives a good idea of who will be top ten or even podium. )




    Again, I am not saying I am agreeing, but trying to imagine the thought process that went behind this for the Chinese authority....

    All I can hope for, is that some sort of Healing happens for all skaters and that they enjoy working together... for them, it's like a job right... since they are taken care of by the government... I can tell you that I am not necessarily always working with people I like but I have to be Professional... so I command the skaters for adapting to this situation and I hope that as fans, we will also heal, and support the skaters, even if we disagree with the situation

    Do you really think that new pair of Yu/Zhang have better chance of achieving better results than original pair of Yu/Jin? In 2018? OR even In 2022?

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    I have never heard about such Forced Split/Partnership before. Oh my, simply unbelievable! Poor Yu and Jin... At least those Federation officials should have some conscience or moral limit when dictating to the pairs team, shouldn't they? Now the good reputation they have built up over the past decade is lost forever. What a Shame!

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    Quote Originally Posted by yuhongkui View Post
    Do you really think that new pair of Yu/Zhang have better chance of achieving better results than original pair of Yu/Jin? In 2018? OR even In 2022?
    for 2022, i think Yu/Jin was the better option... but it's far...

    for 2018, I think that the Chinese federation is thinking that Zhang is their man. With his reputation and stability. They certainly do not trust Peng. They think Yu is stronger. You know, i do not like the forced split. But when it comes to figure skating, having international experience and judges recognition is mandatory for PCS. Look at Tarasova and Morozov, as Russian team #3, having a heard time to pierce... Yu/Jin were considered Chinese #3 team, then #4 after their trials.... they have never been to WC... they still make mistakes on jumps as well... The federation thought it was not feasible for them to medal... especially if there are only 2 chinese teams next year going to WC.... it means that if P/Z had remained #2 chinese team, then y/j still don't go to the WC.... see where that leads ? no way Y/J could medal in 2018....

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    Quote Originally Posted by 4everchan View Post
    for 2022, i think Yu/Jin was the better option... but it's far...

    for 2018, I think that the Chinese federation is thinking that Zhang is their man. With his reputation and stability. They certainly do not trust Peng. They think Yu is stronger. You know, i do not like the forced split. But when it comes to figure skating, having international experience and judges recognition is mandatory for PCS. Look at Tarasova and Morozov, as Russian team #3, having a heard time to pierce... Yu/Jin were considered Chinese #3 team, then #4 after their trials.... they have never been to WC... they still make mistakes on jumps as well... The federation thought it was not feasible for them to medal... especially if there are only 2 chinese teams next year going to WC.... it means that if P/Z had remained #2 chinese team, then y/j still don't go to the WC.... see where that leads ? no way Y/J could medal in 2018....
    Do you think that only 2 years (for 2018) is an enough time for a new pair, say Yu/Zhang, to overcome the judges?
    Indeed, in last year of 2015, Yu/Jin had taken over the 2nd place of Peng/Zhang among the Chinese team according to the PCS given by judges.
    Even if Yu/Zhang will get success in 2018, can this new pair still be counted on in 2022? Considering the age of Zhang at that time.

    There is a Chinese saying: kill the hen to take away the egg immediately.

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    There's a term in Econometrics called "reverse causality". The fact that Yu/Jin are considered #3 or #4 within Team China isn't the cause of their splitting. It's because the decision-makers plan on splitting them in the first place such that they're forcefully labelled as #3 or #4 to "set the stage" for the splitting. In the international competitions last year, Yu/Jin actually fared better than Peng/Zhang. They made it to GPF on their own (twice in a row since turning senior). Peng/Zhang didn't. They got in as the 1st substitutes because Sui/Han withdraw. In GPF, both pairs made mistakes but Yu/Jin still placed ahead of Peng/Zhang. In 4CC, Yu/Jin won bronzes. Peng/Zhang were absent due to injuries. Even TSL said that they considered Yu/Jin China's #2. I bet they were not alone.

    The fact that Yu/Jin are (were) considered #3 or #4 within China while they are (were) considered #2 internationally in and by itself is very telling. Suppose they did go to 2016 worlds and finished ahead of Peng/Zhang again (frankly it's quite possible ex post), that'll make justifying the split of Yu/Jin 100 times harder than it already is now.

    Sure, CSA wants to put together the strongest team possible (besides Sui/Han). Yu is better than Peng in terms of jumps, okay, and Zhang is better than Jin because...? Zhang in 2006 is definitely better than Jin in 2016, but Zhang in 2016 with back injuries and totally heathy Jin in 2016? Maybe... I don't know...

    Peng/Zhang were 4th in 2015 worlds. They just had a bad season last year. That's totally normal and a lot of skaters go through the same thing but come back strong the next year. But the decision-makers apparently lose all the patience.

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    It seems a gamble to me, meanwhile humiliating Peng and Jin while putting great pressure on Yu and Zhang to deliver a miracle, for the good of the team at high costs. Should they be this desperate? Are there some viable reasons that we are not privy to?

    We may never know the real impetus but the consequences of this decision will play out as public records.

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