Related News

Home » Feature

An Olympic love story skates to the altar

A love story on ice skated to a perfect conclusion when Olympic gold medal pair Shen Xue and Zhao Hongbo exchanged vows on ice on Saturday night in a Beijing extravaganza that was criticized because of ticket sales.

The 15-minute wedding ceremony, however, was only the first small part of the two-hour "Artistry On Ice" show at Capital Gymnasium that drew around 13,000 spectators to see ice-skating champions from around the world.

Tickets sold for as much as 1,080 yuan (US$159); a third of the ticket sales are to be donated to charity, according to the sponsor Amway.

The wedding was the first on the program that included a dazzling array of skating talent.

The bride wore a trailing white, spaghetti-strap gown and carried a bouquet of pink flowers. The bridegroom wore a black tuxedo. At the center of the ice ring Zhou knelt on one knee to welcome his bride. They embraced and exchanged rings.

The couple - Shen is 32 and Zhao is 37 - have been partners on ice for 18 years and were legally married by obtaining a marriage license in 2007. But in China people are not considered "really" married until they have a ceremony and a party.

The couple had won numerous awards and retired from skating in 2007, but they returned to the Olympic Games in Vancouver this year and took gold for figure skating. On Saturday they repeated their winning performance to music from the opera "Turandot."

The "Artistry on Ice" show was similar to the American "Stars on Ice," and featured world figure skating champions, including Asada Mao from Japan, Evgeni Plushenko and Alexei Yagudin from Russia, and Stephane Lambiel form Canada, among others.

Pop singer Zhang Liangying (third place in 2005 "Super Girl" singing competition) and violinist Lu Siqing also performed.

Before the wedding took place, there was strong criticism on the Internet from many Chinese who said that ticket sales made the wedding "crass, commercial and a publicity stunt."

The indignation was so great that on the day before the wedding, the couple held a press conference to refute accusations of commercialism. Fans had misunderstood, they said, adding that statements had been taken out of context and the wedding was only part of a larger event.

"We are only a small part of the two-hour extravaganza," said Zhao.

"When we perform on ice, we are trying to raise the popularity of ice skating in China," Shen said.

The 2006 men's Olympic gold medalist Plushenko of Russia, one of the world's most decorated male skaters, performed to "Sex Bomb."

Two-time world champion Lambiel hit the ice in a business suit in "Let the Good Times Roll."

Japan's 2010 Olympic silver medalist Mao performed a tango. Pang Qing and Tong Jian, runner-up at the Vancouver Olympics, impressed spectators and appeared to answer the question who would succeed Shen and Zhao.

American Johnny Weir, the three-time US national men's champion, drew whistles and cheers as he skated to Lady Gaga's "Poker Face." At the dress rehearsal the day before, Weir was worried about following Shen and Zhao's sentimental wedding with "Poker Face," a sexy favorite of his fans.

He was bombarded by small stuffed toys thrown by the audience to show their affection.

China will continue to promote figure skating among the public, said Ren Hongguo, deputy director of the Winter Sports Administration of China's General Administration of Sports.


Copyright © 1999- Shanghai Daily. All rights reserved.Preferably viewed with Internet Explorer 8 or newer browsers.

沪公网安备 31010602000204号

Email this to your friend