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China unveils figure skating association amid hopes for reprise of Olympic glory

By Lu Wen’ao (People's Daily)    09:35, January 19, 2018

Chinese Figure Skating Association President Shen Xue

Beijing (People's Daily) - The Chinese Figure Skating Association (CFSA) was officially launched on Thursday with former world champion Shen Xue named the first president.

Previously the sport was governed by the Chinese Skating Association, which overlooks ice sports in general.

Shen noted that developing the talent reserves is one of the priorities for the newly established association, not only professional skaters but also coaches and referees.

China’s figure skating national team was established in the 1986. Over the decades they have achieved one Olympic title and seven World Championship golds.

The peak of the figure skating team was considered at the 2010 Vancouver Olympics, where China’s pairs Shen Xue and Zhao Hongbo clinched the gold medal and Pang Qing and Tong Jian finished in second place, ending a 46-year-long Russian dominance in the event.

The pairs final at the Pyeongchang Olympics will be held on February 15, the Chinese New Year Eve on Chinese lunar calendar.

Former general coach of China's figure skating team Yao Bing receives the letter of appointment as the honorary consultant of the CFSA.

Yao Bing, honorary consultant of the CFSA, said he expects to have something to celebrate at the beginning of the Chinese New Year. Yao is considered the “godfather” of China’s figure skating.

China will have three pairs competing at the Olympics, with the hopes of a title finish pinned on reigning world champions Sui Wenjing and Han Cong.

Sui and Han’s music for the free skating is Turandot, an encore of the tune which helped Shen and Zhao win gold in 2010. Zhao is currently the general coach of Chinese figure skating team.

Director Zhang Yimou (right) receives the letter of appointment as the honorary president of the CFSA.

Famed director Zhang Yimou, who masterminded the opening ceremony of 2008 Beijing Olympics, was appointed as the honorary president of the association.

“Figure skating also has things along the lines of movie making, especially when referring to music and the performance,” Zhang said. “I’m happy to make my contribution for it.”

Zhang is also the director for the eight-minute show of Beijing 2022 at the closing ceremony of the Pyeongchang Olympics. He has helped improve the 2017 pairs world champions’ performance, according to Shen.

For the singles, men’s prodigy Jin Boyang will try to challenge the world top-level athletes, including newly recovered superstar Yuzuru Hanyu of Japan and Spanish veteran Javier Fernandez.

Under the CFSA, a club competition is set to be established later this year, as the governing body aims to create more chances for athletes to compete. Previously China’s figure skating athletes only had domestic and international championships to compete in, according to Shen. 

(For the latest China news, Please follow People's Daily on Twitter and Facebook)(Web editor: Bianji, Hongyu)

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