Figure Skating Lovebirds to Marry After Beijing Olympics
    2007-04-26 15:09:22     Xinhua

Figure skating aces Shen Xue and Zhao Hongbo said Thursday they planned to get married next year after the pairs world champions temporarily left the national team.

Shen and Zhao, bringing China the first figure skating world championships title in 2002, put their 15-year partnership on the ice to a stop early this year and prepared to start a life together.

"We plan to get married after the Beijing Olympic Games next year. We have received so many suggestions on where my wedding should be held," said a smiling Zhao who showed up with Shen to be named the Honorary Ambassadors for Pyeong Chang's bid for the 2014 winter Olympics.

"This year we are going to be very busy and we also want to devote some of our energy to the Beijing Games," said the 34-year-old Zhao.

Shen and Zhao clinched their third world title in Tokyo in March when Zhao made an unexpected proposal to Shen in the pairs' final.

Zhao knelt on one knee, holding Shen's hands to make the proposal when they finished their free skate routine in the final on March 21 amid thunderous applause of the spectators. A few seconds later, surprised Shen lowered to her knees too.

"I had not known that was a proposal until he told me later that night," recalled Shen, 29. "That's why I knelt down too." With three world titles and two Olympic bronzes to their names, Shen and Zhao decided to leave the national team for a while.

"We may return for the 2010 winter Olympics. After all an Olympic gold medal is what we want the most," said Zhao.

"Even if we quit skating, our life will always be involved with the sport. We will try our best to promote it in China," said Shen.