A young Chinese pair skating team astonished a crowd at Skate Canada when they did a very high, acrobatic quadruple twist, rarely seen in competition.
It’s nothing new for Sui Wenjing, 16 and Han Cong , 19, of Harbin, China. Last year, as junior skaters, they accomplished quadruple throw Salchows.
The move helped the charismatic, tiny pair to take the silver medal at Skate Canada behind Russians Tatiana Volosozhar and Maxim Trankov. Canadians Meagan Duhamel of Lively, Ont., and Eric Radford of Balmertown, Ont., won the bronze medal, their first since they teamed up together in the spring of 2010.
The young Chinese pair teamed up only four years ago without having had any previous pair experience. But they were inspired by Shen Xue and Zhao Hongbo when they watched them competing at the 2002 Olympics in Salt Lake City, Shen and Zhao later became Olympic champions in Vancouver last year.
While Shen and Zhao were coached by Yao Bin, the first Chinese pair to compete at a world championship in 1980, Sui and Han are coached by his pair partner, Luan Bo.
Han, who speaks good English, said he and his tiny partner worked for three months before they landed their first quad twist. They are still practicing the quadruple throw Salchow.
The first skaters to land a quad twist were Marina Cherkasova and Sergei Shakrai of Russia in 1977, but they were able to do it because she was dwarfed in size by the older Shakrai.
Ekaterina Gordeeva and Sergei Grinkov of Russia also landed a quad twist at the 1987 world championships.
In 2007, Tiffany Vise and Derek Trent of the United States became the first to land a quad throw Salchow at a Grand Prix event in Paris.
Sui and Han’s idols, Shen and Zhao attempted a quadruple throw Salchow several times, but were never able to land it.
“This is the first [purpose]for us to do something different for figure skating,” Han said. “This is for the young or little people or students, so that they can grow up and in the future do the same and even better than us.”
Sui and Han are two-time world junior champions. They have been competing in both the junior and the senior Grand Prix for the past two years.
Sui and Han received 7.96 points for their quad twist while the winners, Voloxozhar and Trankov scored 7.00 for a triple twist in the Skate Canada free skate.