VANCOUVER (Reuters) - Shen Xue and Zhao Hongbo delivered gold to end China’s barren Olympic figure skating spell and immediately turned their thoughts to creating the next generation of champions. Wearing the new additions to their medal collection around their necks having broken Russia’s 46-year hold on pairs gold, the giggling couple switched their focus to the idea of a new addition to their family.
“I think it’s hard to continue skating so maybe it’s time to have a baby,” Shen told a news conference on Monday.
The duo came out of retirement for a fourth attempt at winning their sport’s top prize and achieved their goal in spectacular style, earning a standing ovation from flag-waving fans as they ended the remarkable grip on the event held by the Russians since the 1964 Games in Innsbruck.
“This is a dream come true, we’ve had this dream for many many years. Every time we heard the anthem or saw the flag (when we won something), we wished it was the Olympic Games,” said Zhao, a three-times world champion with Shen.
“Records are set to be broken at some point,” he added.
“This is an embodiment of the Olympic spirit,” he said with Shen adding: “This is the attraction of the Olympic Games.”
It was China’s first Olympic figure skating gold and there were double celebrations after Pang Qing and Tong Jian won silver, with all four skaters holding on to the corners of their country’s flag for the victory lap around the packed rink.
The runners-up’s rousing routine had fans on their feet and Tong on his knees kissing the ice, confident they had done enough to lift themselves up from fourth on to the podium.
“I‘m still very thrilled,” said Tong. “When I kissed the ice I don’t know what got into me -- I think a power made me do that.”
While the Chinese skaters barely stopped smiling in the news conference, German bronze medalists Aliona Savchenko and Robin Szolkowy could not hide their disappointment.
Their glum faces only broke into a smile when Zhao was asked what advice he could give the Germans on how to lift themselves up enough to try for gold at the next Olympics.
Having won bronze in 2002 and 2006, Zhao has plenty of wisdom on the subject.
“Don’t wait until you’re 37 to get your gold,” he told them.
Editing by Miles Evans