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China's retired Olympic champion Zhao enjoys new life as coach

English.news.cn   2014-02-04 16:54:35

SOCHI, Feb. 4 (Xinhua) -- Zhao Hongbo, China's first figure skating Olympic champion, said he is now enjoying his life as a coach.

Zhao and his partner and wife Shen Xue won the Olympic gold at Vancouver four years ago. They retired after that and Zhao turned to coaching immediately.

"I am now coaching four couples. They all have different problems like the relation within the team or their elements. Being a coach is tiring, but I am enjoying it," he said.

Zhao and Shen also collected bronze medals at the 2002 and 2006 Olympic Winter Games as well as three world titles in their career. He is in Sochi for his fifth appearance at Olympic Winter Games.

The 40-year-old said, "Coming back as a coach is a different feeling than coming as an athlete. Maybe it is more about using your heart and your brains now."

One of his teams, Peng Cheng/Zhang Hao, are competing in the team and individual event at Sochi. Zhang used to train with and compete against Zhao.

"Teacher Zhao was like my older brother, but now he is my coach. Since he retired only recently from the sport, he still knows how to do the elements at very high level and can teach us very well," Zhang said.

"He knows me very well, and my strengths and weaknesses. So he can help me to improve. If it was not for his help, we would not have been able to progress so fast and achieve our good results."

In Vancouver, China also claimed silver medal and ended the decades of dominance of Russia and Soviet Union in the discipline.

Vancouver silver medalists Pang Qing/Tong Jian are competing in Sochi again. "I think they can win a medal. Their condition is getting better and better," Zhao said.

Editor: Fu Peng
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