Winter Olympics: The Russians No Longer Dominate Olympic Figure Skating

charles kellettContributor IFebruary 16, 2010

VANCOUVER, BC - FEBRUARY 15:  (L-R) Jian Tong and Qing Pang of China win the silver medal, Hongbo Zhao and Xue Shen of China win the gold medal, and Robin Szolkowy and Aliona Savchenko of Germany win the bronze medal in the Figure Skating Pairs Free Program on day 4 of the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics at the Pacific Coliseum on February 15, 2010 in Vancouver, Canada.  (Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)
Matthew Stockman/Getty Images

A Russian or Soviet pair has won the gold medal at every Olympics dating to 1964.  That is dominance, but no more.  China is stepping in to take over that spot.   China's Shen Xue and Zhao Hongbo are on their way to take the Olympics after a long wait.

The pair from China have competed in four Olympic games and won the bronze twice.   That is a lot of time sacrificed for the pursuit of gold.  Sixteen years not to mention the time in preparation prior to that.  Their time is now and I applaud. They skated so free and graceful compared to the Russian's almost mechanical performance.

Shen and Zhao retired after winning their third world title in 2007.  An Olympic gold medal is powerful motivation.They are senior citizens in the skating world, the 31-year-old Shen and 36-year-old Zhao are now aging champions. They skate with their heart.  They seem to skate as one with perfect timing,  but timing is not everything.  The graceful flow that only comes from the heart shows up on the ice.  The Russians seemed to be on time but on time like a metronome, which can get boring very quickly.  The flow wasn't there.

Shen and Zhoa after a long battle have a Gold, and with that the Russian run of dominance is over.

"We've been in competitions for many years, and won other medals," Zhao said. "But every time we heard the national anthem and saw our flag being raised, we wished it was the Olympic Games. Today we've achieved our goal."

It has to be an overwhelming experience to stand there and accept the Gold with your national anthem playing.  I am not rooting China on, but they are the best right now.  I just want to say, US leads in the medals race---Whoohoo!