Shen, Zhao claim China’s first figure skating gold

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Shen Xue and Zhao Hongbo gave China their first ever Olympic figure skating title when they won gold in the pairs event in Vancouver while ending Russia’s 50-year domination of the event. The husband-and-wife team led a Chinese 1-2 ahead of teammates Pang Qing and Tong Jian with Germany’s reigning two-time world champions Aliona Savchenko and Robin Szolkowy taking bronze after the free skating final on Monday.

It was the first time since 1960 that a pair from Russia or the former Soviet Union have not taken the gold. Shen, 31, and Zhao, 36, had returned after retiring for two years in their bid to claim gold after winning bronze at the past two Olympics. And although they had a less than perfect programme to Adagio in G Minor by Tomaso Albinoni it was enough to seal victory by a 3.26 margin on Pang and Tong.

“We’ve had this dream for many, many years,” said three-time world champion Zhao. “We’ve won other titles and every time we heard the national anthem and the raising of the flag we wished it was the Olympic Games.”

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