For­mer Olympic skat­ing champs push for glory in 2022

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - CHINA - By SUN XIAOCHEN sunx­i­aochen@ chi­

As Beijing cel­e­brates the two-year an­niver­sary of its suc­cess­ful bid for the 2022 Win­ter Olympics, China’s most-dec­o­rated win­ter Olympian cou­ple is em­brac­ing a new role in pro­mot­ing win­ter sports.

Shen Xue, a for­mer Olympic cham­pion fig­ure skater, was re­cently named deputy sec­re­tary of the Beijing Mu­nic­i­pal Com­mit­tee of the Com­mu­nist Youth League of China to lead the mass youth or­ga­ni­za­tion’s work in sup­port­ing prepa­ra­tions for Beijing 2022, ac­cord­ing to mul­ti­ple Chi­nese me­dia re­ports.

Shen’s hus­band, Zhao Hongbo, her gold-win­ning part­ner in pairs skat­ing at the 2010 Van­cou­ver Win­ter Olympics, con­firmed the ap­point­ment on Mon­day, ex­press­ing con­fi­dence in his wife to de­liver in the high­pro­file post.

“She is so ex­pe­ri­enced in the game — not only in the ath­letic as­pect but in the prepa­ra­tion and op­er­a­tion of big events — af­ter com­pet­ing with me at four Olympics,” Zhao said af­ter a win­ter sports pro­mo­tion event on Mon­day. He re­tired with Shen af­ter Van­cou­ver.

“It will be a tall or­der for her to be in such a high po­si­tion, but she has gained the ex­per­tise in or­ga­ni­za­tion, con­sul­tancy and staff train­ing af­ter serv­ing as a staff mem­ber at the 2015 World Fig­ure Skat­ing Cham­pi­onships in Shang­hai, so I be­lieve she is com­pe­tent for the new job,” he said.

Shen and Zhao won three ti­tles at the bi­en­nial World Cham­pi­onships be­tween 2002 and 2007, and two Olympic bronze medals at the 2002 Salt Lake City and 2006 Turin Games.

Mon­day marked the twoyear an­niver­sary of Beijing’s win­ning the right to host the Olympic and Par­a­lympic Win­ter Games in 2022 with co-host city Zhang ji­akou, He­bei prov­ince. Beijing edged out its ri­val, Al­maty, Kaza­khstan, in July 2015.

The event Zhao at­tended was among a se­ries of cel­e­bra­tions for the an­niver­sary.

An in-depth re­port en­ti­tled China’s Ice and Snow Dream, compiled by the Na­tional Win­ter Sports Ad­min­is­tra­tive Cen­ter and fea­tur­ing sto­ries of the coun­try’s win­ter sports stars present and past, was re­leased to give mem­bers of the pub­lic in­sights into the game’s de­vel­op­ment in China.

A ju­nior ski­ing con­test at Beijing’s newly built dry ski slope, paved with slip­pery ar­ti­fi­cial sur­faces, and a Win­ter Olympic-themed pub­lic lec­ture, were also held.

Af­ter turn­ing China into a world power in fig­ure skat­ing with his wife dur­ing their prime, Zhao of­fi­cially picked up the ba­ton of ex-men­tor Yao Bin as the head coach of the na­tional fig­ure skat­ing team in late June af­ter coach­ing the pairs squad for four years since 2013.

Un­der his guid­ance, young pair Han Cong and Sui Wen­jing claimed their first World Cham­pi­onships gold medal in Fin­land in March, end­ing the seven-year world ti­tle drought in the pairs cat­e­gory since Pang Qing and Tong Jian won in 2010.

“We are em­brac­ing a golden era for win­ter sports to blos­som in China, lead­ing up to the 2022 Olympics with gov­ern­ment and pub­lic in­ter­est both ris­ing to new heights. Hope­fully, Shen and I can con­trib­ute in our re­spec­tive po­si­tions and leave a legacy for the sport af­ter we re­tire from our cur­rent jobs,” Zhao said.

Shen Xue

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