Posted December. 13, 2008 08:25,
In Dortmund, Germany in 1980, Yao Bin and Luan Bo were the first pair to represent China at a world figure skating championship.
Chinas debut on the world stage was miserable, however. Male partner Yao Bins performance drew sneers from the audience. With no coach, he had to learn how to skate in pairs on his own.
Since then, Yao Bin and his partner have competed on the world stage twice more years but have finished last. Their humiliation, however, spurred him to turn China into a world power in pair figure skating.
He became a coach and devoted himself to training Chinas next-generation of skaters. His efforts bore fruit, with his students ending the Russian monopoly on the world championships.
Shen Xue and Zhao Hongbo, the first pair Yao coached, became three-time world champions and five-time winners at the Grand Prix final. Yao also coached Pang Qing and Tong Jian, who won medals in the 2006 Turin Winter Olympics, and Zhang Dan and Zhang Hao, who starred at many international competitions such as the 2006 Torino Winter Olympic Games.
Zhang Yue and Wang Lei won the silver medal yesterday in the junior pair skating at the Grand Prix final in the northern Seoul suburb of Goyang, Gyeonggi Province.
Zhang and Wang earned a combined score of 137.92 (87.70 in free skating and 50.22 in the short program). Lubov Iliushechkina and Nodari Maisuradze of Russia won the gold with 149.38 points.
The Chinese pair finished seventh in both last years Grand Prix final and the Junior World Championships.