Olympic dream still flickering for China's Pang, Tong

Chinese veterans Pang Qing and Tong Jian admitted that they were still dreaming of an Olympic pairs figure skating gold despite the odds being stacked against them of taking the title at the Sochi Games.

  • Published: 18/11/2013 at 04:49 AM
  • Newspaper section: news

Pang Qing (L) and Tong Jian of China perform during the figure skating closing ceremony of the 2013 Eric Bompard trophy on November 17, 2013 at the Bercy Palais-Omnisport (POPB) in Paris

Pang, 33, and Tong, 34, who started skating together as six-year-olds, are also a couple in life having got engaged last year when Tong proposed during an ice show in China.

Over a career spanning 20 years the 2006 and 2010 world champions have won every major title possible apart from the Olympic gold.

In Vancouver the pair from Harbin chose the music 'Impossible Dream' for their free skate and it inspired a silver medal.

That led them to chose 'I Dreamed a Dream' from Les Miserables for their final season.

"In 2010 we chose the music 'Impossible Dream'," explained Tong, after the couple won their first Trophee Bompard Grand Prix title in Paris this weekend on their sixth attempt.

In Vancouver the music helped them set a new world record for the free skate and take silver behind fellow Chinese Xue Shen and Zhao Hongbo, who won thanks to their world record short programme as China broke Russia's 46-year Olympic gold medal streak in pairs.

"This is our final dream. It's our final season and we know it's going to be very difficult if not impossible to have gold. But we try to put our heart into skating so that is why we've chosen this music."

The Chinese pair, who have often been written off, have not been on the world podium since their bronze medal in 2011.

Among their main rivals in Sochi will be Germany's four-time world champions Aliona Savchenko and Robin Szolkowy, the Olympic bronze medallists, and reigning world champions Tatiana Volosozhar and Maxim Trankov of Russia.

They will match themselves against their rivals at the ISU Grand Prix final in Japan next month after booking their ticket with their Paris win and a silver in the Cup of China two weeks ago.

Tong admitted that he would have to iron out errors in both programmes after he fell on a triple toeloop during their routines.

Despite the glitches, the Olympic silver medallists scored their season's best 126.17 points for the free skate and 193.86 overall for their fifth medal in the French capital.

Canada's Meagan Duhamel and Eric Radford won silver and American Caydee Denney and John Coughlin the bronze.

After retiring Tong said the couple were hoping to study languages, but hoped to remain within the world of skating as judges or technical advisors to the sport.

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Writer: AFP
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