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  1. #1

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    They're not old; just very experienced

    http://europe.chinadaily.com.cn/spor...t_15985926.htm
    "Although we qualified for the final, I know some fans say Chinese figure skating is declining. It is kind of true," Tong said.
    Nothing great was ever achieved without enthusiasm - Ralph Waldo Emerson

  2. #2
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    I am sad that they and He-Zhang are not allowed to retire.

    With the exception of Shen Xue and her cat like quality to land throws, Chinese pairs are really not that much about talent but just extreme hard work and starvation. It's sad that no real talents have emerged a decade after Chinese pairs started to rise to the top and out of so many people they have not been able to find a girl with charisma and line and a guy with strength and well, line.

    Still, even if not ideal, I wish the Chinese Fed would send the young pairs out for more competition already instead of forcing the spots on Pang & Tong.

  3. #3
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    And if Pang/ Tong make it to Sochi Olympics, they would both be nearing 35 years of age, quite an accomplishment if it happens. I have enjoyed their skating on and off over the years.

    Won't the young Chinese pairs Sui/ Han be back in the ranks by then with Sui's injury and growing pains healed/ resolved?

    It's sad that both Sui of S/H and Takahashi of Takahashi/ Tran were injured this season, after their respective successes of last season.

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    Hongbo Zhao was 36 when he won gold at the last Olympics so P/T at 35 is doable. Hao Zhang is only 28. China still has good pairs they can invest in including S/H is she doesn't out grow him.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by julieann View Post
    Hao Zhang is only 28.
    Or maybe 30.

    Still not too old by any means for pairs.


    I'd be very surprised if Sui never outgrows the very short Han, but it's not like there are no other pair guys in China.

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    Quote Originally Posted by stjeaskategym View Post
    Or maybe 30.
    Very true

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    I have always been surprised that other than Sui and Han, there was not a whole tranche of younger Chinese pair teams that followed, especially after the 2002-2006 seasons when Shen and Zhao really rose to the very top.

    I'm sure there is something I don't understand about how the dynamics of the Chinese development effort plays out, but I still find it odd that such teams are in such positions of almost "having" to stay in.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Marco View Post
    Still, even if not ideal, I wish the Chinese Fed would send the young pairs out for more competition already instead of forcing the spots on Pang & Tong.
    I think it's a decision between having a team who has a chance to medal and a team to give them the exposure; the former prevails. In figure skating, 30 is old because it's a sport which is very tough on the body. I would like to think that they can retire in better health and start to enjoy our lives. Oh well.. who am I to judge. Maybe they are willing.
    Prosperity makes friends, adversity tries them. – Publilius Syrus

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    With the exception of Shen Xue and her cat like quality to land throws, Chinese pairs are really not that much about talent
    I don't agree with this. I never found the Zhangs to be anything special, but Jian Tong is clearly a gifted and naturally musical skater. He was already very stylish with beautiful carriage even when they first arrived on the international scene.


    Still, even if not ideal, I wish the Chinese Fed would send the young pairs out for more competition already instead of forcing the spots on Pang & Tong.
    They did have two other pairs in the senior GP events - Cheng Peng/Hao Zhang and Wentin Wang/Yan Zhang, plus two pairs in the junior JGP, so they are giving other teams a chance at international experience.

    Xiaoyu Yu/Yang Jin finished 2nd & 4th in their events and qualified for the JGP finals (now 5th after the SP).

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    I still remember Chengjiang Li being 'encouraged' to compete for a few good years after he wanted to retire, as well. In retrospect, that 'only' went on for about 2-3 years and I think P/T will need to go the whole Olympic cycle. Or even beyond if Sui/Han don't pan out the way the Federation hopes they do.

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    They will still have Zhang with his new partner. Their first GP wasn't that strong, but at the second one they were better and considering that they paired only this year, their elements were quite impressive. I think next season they could potentially be quite strong pair.

  12. #12
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    Looking at age, Robin Szolkowy is 33 and will be 34 (almost 35) for Sochi. So P/T won't be the only 'experienced' ones...

  13. #13
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    I truly hope they can make it through to Sochi without causing debilitating injuries that will plague them for life. About 4-5 seasons ago I feel this team's quality of movement and choreography took a big step forward, and I watched their performance at the Grand Prix Final this past week back to back with some performances from 10 years back. I am glad they've stayed around to develop into such an enjoyable pair to watch, and I wish them nothing but the best.

  14. #14
    Reality TV's Bytch
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    I feel so sorry for them. It sounds like their federation won't let them retire. I'm sure they're very happy with their World titles and Olympic silver and would love to move onto married life. I do hope that if they continue to Sochi, they stay in one piece.

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    Quote Originally Posted by screech View Post
    Looking at age, Robin Szolkowy is 33 and will be 34 (almost 35) for Sochi. So P/T won't be the only 'experienced' ones...
    Hongbo Zhao was also well into his 30's when S&Z won their OGM. The Protopopovs were (approx.) 32 & 35 when they won their first OGM.

    It's not too old for a pair to be in the 30's, even in the modern age.

  16. #16

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    Thanks to jjane45 for finding and translating/summarize this latest Qing Pang/Jian Tong article (originally posted in the Chinese skating updates thread in the Trash Can):
    Quote Originally Posted by jjane45 View Post
    New article on PANG/TONG, ignore the photo sigh. Quick summary:

    PANG / TONG did not take any break during the Chinese New Year because he is going thru injections, ultrasound, and various medical treatments. "Two weeks from the World Championships, there is no time to lose."

    The injections TONG received did not bring satisfactory results, doctors advised that they should withdraw from Worlds to buy more time for Sochi Olympics. "But this year's Worlds are too important to give up, and there is no guarantee that the knee will recover fully after surgery."

    TONG says he is "clinging onto" his jump attempts. "Tried the double axels. Also tried one triple toe last Tuesday and Thursday. On Friday it was very painful, and I dared not to continue jumping on Saturday."

    He says he can still compete at Worlds but definitely is not in the best condition. Cannot quite bend the knees and lost some speed. Hoping to last through both programs and aiming at top six, the qualification (for 3 spots) is not easy.

    "If the knee surgery after Worlds can solve the problem, we will absolutely compete at Sochi Olympics. If the surgery is not successful, we have no alternative but to give it our best."
    Could a FSU moderator edit Pang/Tong's names into this thread title perhaps?
    "Randy [Starkman (1960-April 16, 2012)] lived by the same motto as the rest of us. The Olympics isn’t every four years, it’s every single day. He just got it." --Canadian Olympic kayaker Adam van Koeverden

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    Oh, gosh, why are the Worlds too important to give up? Because they must position themselves well there in order for Chinese pairs to maintain spots at Worlds? I wish they could retire already and go heal, and enjoy their married lives together. As much as I have generally enjoyed their skating, I'm not necessarily rooting for them to make the podium if they do compete. Thanks for the memories, Pang and Tong.

    I know if necessary they will both soldier on and do their best, but I hope it's not at the expense of Tong's long term physical health.

  18. #18
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    Whenever I read things on this board about the Chinese like "starvation, devastating amount of work, etc , etc" I just get slightly annoyed because none of us have a clue about what their real training conditions are. I find it EXTREMELY hard to believe that these athletes are lasting well into their late thirties (something unheard of in american skating or heck even internationally) by starving themseleves and punishing their bodies to the extremes some of the posters mention. I hate getting this idea across to young skaters that read posts here because in all reality (as a high level athlete and sports science researcher) I know with the correct education on training principles, one can achieve results without destroying the body. As is obvious, the Chinese are becoming increasingly powerful by fostering knowledge through education (and yes hard work) something that leads me to believe they are not so ignorant on the science of sport. Anyhow, I shall shut the trap now! thanks!

  19. #19

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    Quote Originally Posted by Lsk8ing10 View Post
    I find it EXTREMELY hard to believe that these athletes are lasting well into their late thirties (something unheard of in american skating or heck even internationally) by starving themseleves and punishing their bodies to the extremes some of the posters mention.
    Szolkowy is 33, Trankov will be 30 before Sochi, Kavaguchi is 31, Mark Ladwig competed until 32 (just retired this year)...I'm sure there are more examples of pairs skaters that compete until they're older. In most countries, skaters have to fund their own skating and most of them retire because it wouldn't be financially viable for them to keep competing. China has a government-funded program, so it's a lot easier to keep skating, since you don't need to worry about getting a 'real' job to support your sport. Not to mention, I'm sure you need to retire when you're told, not when you feel tired since it's a centralized training system. Getting on the federation's wrong side could easily mean you'd end up training kids in open-air rinks in Northern China. Yes, I know that's how their program started. Don't think any current skaters are in a rush to revisit those days.

  20. #20
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    I believe the problem is that Qing Pang wants to continue even when her partner is all beaten up and really wants to retire. Pang/Tong always has this internal rivalry going on with Shen/Zhao. These two pairs never skate in the same shows. They probably want to win an OGM as their archenemy even if there is only the slightest chance. Northern Chinese women can be persistent. P/T is also a couple off ice, so the husband can't just say no to what the wife really wants. While some people can be forced to go on by the Chinese fed, I don't think P/T is one of them. They've done a lot. I guess for anyone a year before Olympics is the hardest time to retire.

    Chinese pairs is a monopoly by two coaches, namely the terribly Bo Luan/Bin Yao pair. I believe the program suffers from having very little critical oversight and wants success a little too fast. Peng Cheng could have been great with her previous partner, who was one of the best young pair skaters around. He got angry and retired. There are a couple of junior pairs that have potential, but the coaches don't pay attention to them because everybody knows which three pairs (PT, PZ, SH) are going to Sochi barring injuries and which three pairs (WZ YJ and the new WW) are alternatives. The program is way too goal-oriented and doesn't think ahead at all. Although, that's hardly rare in the pairs world. It's just a bad discipline now overall. I don't enjoy watching any pairs event these days. This quad is filled with older couples left over from last quad, and they are all doing worse than four years ago. V/T is hardly breathtaking either. T/T and S/H were the only fun ones, now one pair is gone and the other uncertain.

    Also those death spirals are so ugly...

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