Saturday, April 18, 2009

Pang and Tong look to fulfill Olympic dream

Chinese pair skaters Qing Pang and Jian Tong have had a very successful career thus far. They were the 2006 World Champions, they are the current and four-time Four Continents Champions, and have medaled at 20 out of 29 Grand Prix events (including the Finals) since 1999.

This year at Worlds, however, they didn't skate their to their potential as Tong was recovering from a cold with fever. They came in fourth - one place higher than last year. "Like last year, a jump was downgraded and we had a single Axel," said Tong with a sigh, "but I think considering the circumstances, we did quite well."

Now the team is looking forward to the upcoming, Olympic year, which probably will be, according to their plans right now, their last competitive season.

For the 2008-09 season, the couple used The Midnight Blues by Gary Moore for the short program and Tango by Gotan Project, Concierto de Aranjuez, and Tango de Roxanne from the Moulin Rouge soundtrack for their expressive free program.

The short program was choreographed by Nikolai Morozov, while the long was done by Sarah Kawahara. "Nikolai (Morozov) suggested the music for the short program, but to use tango for the long program was my idea," revealed Tong. "Sarah (Kawahara) then chose the suitable music. We've skated to Tango in 2000 before, but never again after that. Our goal for this year was to show two different styles - one slower and one more powerful program."

Working with Western choreographers was not a new experience for this team, but still a good one. "They are very different," observed Tong. "Nikolai puts more emphasis on the elements, while Sarah has an idea, first looks for the music, and then constructs the program. We've worked with Nikolai for three seasons, therefore we know his style. We did a program with Sarah once about three years ago."

Full article.

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