By Sportswriter Liu Yang
SOCHI, Feb. 12 (Xinhua) -- Chinese figure skating veterans Pang Qing and Tong Jian narrowly missed a medal at their fourth Winter Olympics on Wednesday, but they were satisfied to end their career on the Olympic ice, and looking forward to a new life as a happy couple.
The two-time world champions, having been training together since 1993, earned 136.58 points for their free skate and totaled 209.88 for the fourth place.
"We're happy to have skated our last performance at the Olympics," said Tong. "It's an honor. We could have been luckier if we had won a medal."
"The most important thing is that we are in love for four years," added Tong.
"We performed every element as best as we can. I didn't do the double axel very well," said Pang. "The audience were enthusiastic and they appreciated our performance."
After winning silver at the 2010 Olympics in Vancouver, the pair admitted they were going out. They were engaged in 2011, after Tong proposed to Pang live on TV.
"Pang Qing, do you remember the music in our free skate 'The Impossible Dream' at the (Vancouver) Olympics? Before the Games, an Olympic medal was my dream, but now my dream is to be with you, forever. Pang Qing, will you marry me?" Tong proposed.
"I was so moved and that feeling was incredible," Pang recalled.
Pang and Tong finished second to teammates Shen Xue and Zhao Hongbo in Vancouver.
"If we had won gold, we would have missed a unique experience these years. I have thought about retirement several times, but Pang persuaded me to continue. She has been my inspiration," said Tong.
The 34-year-old Tong, the oldest athlete in the Chinese delegation, sustained a knee injury last summer and the pair came back to win the bronze medal in the Grand Prix Final last December.
"Just standing on the ice here is a victory for them," said Chinese figure skating team manager Ren Hongguo. "Medal or no medal doesn't matter any more."
In seven world championship appearances they have won two gold, one silver and two bronze medals. They won three golds at the Four Continents Championship between 2008 and 2011.
"It is our last Olympics. I feel so sad that we are going to say goodbye to the sport we love," said Tong.
"We have put off our wedding for the Olympics. Now it's time to think about it. The new life has begun," Tong added, with a smile.