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Olympics: China's Pang & Tong turn focus to wedding after retirement

Published on Feb 13, 2014 5:33 PM
 
China's Pang Qing (left) and Tong Jian compete during the figure skating pairs free skating at the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics, on Wednesday, Feb 12, 2014. Chinese veterans Pang Qing and Tong Jian, silver medallists at the 2010 Vancouver Olympics, turned their focus to their impending wedding after finishing just fourth at the Sochi Games. -- PHOTO: REUTERS

SOCHI, Russia (AFP) - Chinese veterans Pang Qing and Tong Jian, silver medallists at the 2010 Vancouver Olympics, turned their focus to their impending wedding after finishing just fourth at the Sochi Games.

Pang and Tong, both 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.

Skating to I Dreamed A Dream from Les Miserables they finished third in the free skate but fourth overall, with world champions Tatiana Volosozhar and Maxim Trankov winning the gold ahead of fellow Russians Ksenia Stolbova and Fedor Klimov.

Germany's Aliona Savchenko and Robin Szolkowy took a second Olympic bronze.

A disappointed Tong said they had put their wedding plans on hold until after the Winter Olympics, but they would now be retiring.

"We haven't planned our ceremony yet, as we've been focused on our training. Now it's time for us to think about it," he said.

"We're happy to have had the chance to skate our last performance at the Olympic Winter Games. It's an honour. We could have been more lucky if we won a medal."

Pang added: "We performed every element as best as we can. I didn't do the double axel very well.

"The audience was very enthusiastic and the people showed their appreciation for our performance."

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 took them to silver behind fellow Chinese Xue Shen and Zhao Hongbo, who broke Russia's Olympic gold medal streak in pairs going back to 1964.

Team-mates Peng Cheng and Zhang Hao finished eighth after she fell on a double axel in their performance to Yellow River Concerto.

Cheng, 16, and Zhang, 29, teamed up in 2012.

Zhang is the 2006 Olympic silver medallist and a multiple world medallist with former partner Zhang Dan, who retired in 2012, but he did not feel ready to hang up his boots.

"This is my first Olympic Winter Games. We skated after the Russian pair (Vera Bazarova and Yuri Larionov) and maybe the crowd's support for them affected me," she said.

"I feel ashamed about missing the combination."

Zhang added: "We've been skating together for less than two years. This is not enough, we need more practice and we'll have better results next season.

"We will go to the world championships. Whether we will come to another Olympic Winter Games won't be decided by us, but by our health and the federation."