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They're not old; just very experienced

Discussion in 'Great Skate Debate' started by Sugar, Dec 4, 2012.

  1. Sugar

    Sugar Well-Known Member

  2. Marco

    Marco Well-Known Member

    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. aftershocks

    aftershocks Well-Known Member

    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.
  4. julieann

    julieann Well-Known Member

    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.
    PeterG and (deleted member) like this.
  5. stjeaskategym

    stjeaskategym Well-Known Member

    Or maybe 30. :rolleyes: :lol:

    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.
  6. julieann

    julieann Well-Known Member

    Very true ;) :lol:
  7. leapfrogonice

    leapfrogonice Active Member

    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.
  8. spikydurian

    spikydurian Well-Known Member

    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.
  9. Susan M

    Susan M Well-Known Member

    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.

    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).
    hanca and (deleted member) like this.
  10. ioana

    ioana Well-Known Member

    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.
  11. hanca

    hanca Well-Known Member

    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. screech

    screech Well-Known Member

    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. Taso

    Taso Well-Known Member

    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. Tesla

    Tesla Whippet Good

    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.
  15. Vash01

    Vash01 Fan of Yuzuru, Medvedeva, T&M, Shibs, P&C

    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. Sylvia

    Sylvia Prepping for club comp. season!

    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):
    Could a FSU moderator edit Pang/Tong's names into this thread title perhaps?
  17. aftershocks

    aftershocks Well-Known Member

    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. Lsk8ing10

    Lsk8ing10 New Member

    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. ioana

    ioana Well-Known Member

    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. analia

    analia Well-Known Member

    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...
    alilou and (deleted member) like this.
  21. TheIronLady

    TheIronLady Well-Known Member

    Do tell more... Is this something that northern wives are known for in China? How did you learn about this?
  22. skatingfanfun

    skatingfanfun Member

    One big reason that new great Chinese pair teams are not imerging is the one child policy and the very good living standard normal families have now. parents are not that willing to send their children in for serious training, and children are spoiled and not willing to work hard or take the risk to strive for the best. I asked why some pair did double twist and I was told they were afraid of injury.

    I read a Cinese article that P/T withdrew from 4 cc because Tong's knees hurt terribly and he needed to inject something into his knee 5 times. He needed to warm up for more than ten minutes before even doing a crossover. He wanted to retire after GPF but Pang wished to continue to 2014.

    I really hope they don't risk worse injuries. they are good and still very competitive if they skate well enough but does it worth it ? They have achieved a lot already
    Last edited: Feb 20, 2013
  23. skatingfanfun

    skatingfanfun Member

    I believe you're mostly right! Chinese pair team actually has been having a very good nutritious food program. They did control girls food intake when they were younger ( Xue Shen said that Hongbo stealthily took food from the cafeteria for her to eat several times. By the way, food is free for athletes so it was not stealing:)) But when they grow up they know well enough how to eat well, keep fit and strong without overly control themselves. Just think about how strong and consistent those girls are even though they look slim.

    I wouldn't say they are not hard working, they are, but not as some people believed they just misuse their body. In fact, Chinese pair skaters train very differently from pairs in other countries. They only have intensive training shortly before the season starts, doing the whole programs. They don't do that many jumps either. They do run-throughs, and practice by segment. That's why they can have long careers.
  24. Sylvia

    Sylvia Prepping for club comp. season!

    Re-posting from the Chinese reports/hearsay news thread in the Trash Can - a short article with quotes by coach Bin YAO about the 3 pairs entered for Worlds: