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Chinese pair win figure skating gold in Vancouver

Shen Xue and Zhao Hongbo

Chinese pair secure figure skating gold

Shen Xue and Zhao Hongbo won an emotional pairs figure skating final to secure China's first gold of the 2010 Vancouver Games.

The married duo and three-time world champions were coaxed out of retirement by the lure of Olympic gold.

Compatriots Pang Qing and Tong Jian won silver and Germany's Aliona Savchenko and Robin Szolkowy took the bronze.

British pair David King and Stacey Kemp finished 16th with an overall tally of 139.94 points.

Shen and Zhao had settled for third in both Salt Lake City in 2002 and Torino in 2006 and had quit the sport for two years before this triumphant return.

An overjoyed Zhao said: "It's been so many years, to finally get this gold is so exciting. So many years have been devoted to this dream."

Shen, 31, revealed it might be the pair's final appearance in competitive action, saying: "It's hard to continue skating - maybe it's time to have a baby."

They had been the lowest ranked team in the competition because of the lengthy absence from the ice and held a lead of only 0.7 points after Sunday's short programme.

Shen and Zhao, were last to compete and needing to score 136.66 to seal victory, a score below their season's best.

They were near faultless, and the scores confirmed it, a 139.91 giving the duo victory with 216.57 in a Chinese one-two, with Germany's Savchenko and Szolkowy taking bronze.

Kemp, 21, and King, 25, had skated to a personal best score of 48.28 in Sunday's short programme and though there were a couple of slight stumbles on landing in their free programme, the British pair scored 91.66, just below their season's best recorded at the European Championships.

Stacey Kemp and Daniel King

British pair's free skate routine

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see also
As it happened - Winter Olympics day four
15 Feb 10 |  Vancouver 2010
Winter Olympics day four photos
15 Feb 10 |  Vancouver 2010

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