, author: Plackhin A.

Figure skating in China: from last places to Olympic gold

We tell you about China's most colorful figure skaters.

Winter sports are not the strongest suit of the Chinese. But the Orient knows a lot about figure skating. At the last Olympics, held in Beijing, the capital of China, figure skaters from this country reached the podium.

Sui Wenjing and Han Qiong.

The pair became the second in the history of China to win the Winter Olympics. And where - on home ice! At that time, the skaters had been skating together for 15 years: the skaters became a couple in 2007, having previously trained as singles. Together they became world champions twice (2017, 2018). They tried to qualify for the Winter Olympics in Sochi in 2014, but failed to pass the necessary threshold. Although their performance in Russia would have been unusual: the skaters prepared the Olympic program to "Kalinka". In 2018, at their first Games, the pair won silver medals in Pyeongchang, losing to Germans Alena Savchenko and Bruno Masso by 0.47 points. After the short program, the pair was in the lead. But in the free program Sui and Han made a mistake at the beginning: it cost the Chinese gold. However, it is worth noting a beautiful story that happened in Pyeongchang: the free skating program was a tribute to their coach, idol and inspiration Zhao Hongbo, who with Shun Xue was the first Chinese figure skater to win medals at the Games. The pair performed the Turandot program, the champion number of their mentor.

After the tournament in South Korea, the pair missed a year - Sui was healing from a stress fracture.

At their home Olympics in 2022, the skaters were subjected to enormous pressure: the whole of China was rooting for them, and in order to see their native athletes win medals, the pairs competition was moved to the end of the Games - an almost unprecedented story! This time Sui and Han won. And again the gap between first and second place was less than a point - 63 hundredths separated Russians Evgenia Morozova and Vladimir Tarasov from the gold medal.

After the Olympics, the athletes again suspended their performance - and perhaps now for good. She wants to try her hand as a choreographer, he - joined the athletes' commission. In addition, the skaters are haunted by echoes of past injuries.

Zhao Hongbo and Shen Xue

Zhao Hongbo, who led Sui Wenjing and Han Qun to Olympic gold, also won a major sporting honor himself. As a pair with Shen Xue, he brought China its first Olympic figure skating gold in 2010. The pair won bronze medals in 2002 and 2006.

In addition, Zhao and Shen have another landmark achievement for the country - in 1997, they became the first Chinese to win the Winter Universiade. They were once called the most outstanding pair in figure skating. And it was they who became the idols and role models for the second Chinese couple to win Olympic gold.

Luan Bo and Yao Bin

The first sports couple to represent China in competition. Their career dates back to the 1980s. The figure skaters competed at several World Championships and the 1984 Olympics, but each time unsuccessfully, finishing last in the standings. After the Games, Yao ended his career as an athlete and retrained as a coach. The success of the pair of Zhao Hongbo and Shen Sue is to his credit.