Top 4 Tips Figure Skaters Can Learn from Olympic Gold Medalists Shen and Zhao

Learn to Set SMART Goals in Figure Skating
Top 4 Tips Figure Skaters Can Learn from Olympic Gold Medalists Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir
 Shen and Zhao's huge split triple twist during their Olympic short program (Photo by Liz Chastney)

Shen and Zhao's huge split triple twist during their Olympic short program (Photo by Liz Chastney)

2010 Olympic pairs champions Shen Xue and Zhao Hongbo were two of my favorite role models during my early years in pairs. They still are two of my favorite role models. Shen and Zhao demonstrate qualities which make champions as well as people of good character. Following are 4 top tips figure skaters can learn from Olympic pairs gold medalists Shen and Zhao.

1. When a team is a good match, it pays to stay together.

Now married, Shen and Zhao have been skating together for 18 years. This time has helped them develop their strong elements, great unison, and overall polish to their skating. Their dedication helped them become two of the very best skaters in the sport.

2. Focus on turning your weaknesses into strengths.

Shen and Zhao during their Olympic long program (Photo by Liz Chastney)

Shen and Zhao during their Olympic long program (Photo by Liz Chastney)

In the past, Shen and Zhao had weaknesses artistically, causing them to earn lower scores than the other top teams. They have worked on improving their expression, artistry, and overall skating skills, giving them an edge over the competition. They combined these skating skills with more advanced choreography to create a strong and elegant style. In addition, they now have good unison and speed in their side-by-side spins, formerly their weakest element.

3. Hard work and dedication pay off.

I remember when my sister and I were training as intermediate pairs competitors in Colorado Springs during October 2000. Shen and Zhao were training at our rink for the upcoming Skate America competition. We were lucky to be able to train on sessions with the elite pairs. Shen and Zhao would skate for the whole session, going from element to element and hardly ever stopping for a break. The work ethic they possessed was the best I’ve seen. Although they are now married, Shen and Zhao have continued to show intense dedication to their skating, even living in separate dorm rooms to train for the 2010 Olympics.

4. Nice guys (people) do finish first.

I’ve only heard good things about what nice people Shen and Zhao are. They have always been very humble and well-mannered. Their sportsmanship has been among the best in the sport, and they have always acted professionally regardless of the competition outcome. Not only are Shen and Zhao great role models for figure skaters, but they are great role models for all athletes.

Learn to Set SMART Goals in Figure Skating
Top 4 Tips Figure Skaters Can Learn from Olympic Gold Medalists Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir
March 9, 2010