Who are Sui Wenjing and Han Cong?
Chinese pairs skaters Sui Wenjing and Han Cong are the 2017 World champions and three-time world junior champions.
Figure skating beginnings
Sui was born July 18, 1995 in Harbin, China – known as the “Ice City.” Han was born August 6, 1992 also in Harbin.
They both were inspired to start skating after watching performances by Xue Shen and Hongbo Zhao at the 2002 Olympics. Xue and Zhao went on to win gold at the 2010 Vancouver Olympics, and for many years, Zhao was part of Sui and Han’s coaching staff.
Sui and Han partnered together in 2007 without any previous pairs experience. Sui’s nickname soon became the “martyr” during their first months together because she was always willing to try risky elements and didn’t ever complain about taking hard falls on the ice.
Major competitions/ medals
Sui and Han have made six consecutive appearances at the world championships, dating to 2012. After earning back-to-back Worlds silver medals in 2015 and 2016, they won their first golds in 2017.
Sui and Han have won four Four Continents Championships titles. Their most recent came in 2017, held at the same venue that will host Olympic figure skating at the PyeongChang Games.
The pair owns nine medals on the Grand Prix circuit and they have made two trips to the elite Grand Prix Final, winning bronze medals each time.
Sui and Han are two-time Chinese national champions.
As junior-level skaters, Sui and Han demonstrated immense talent. They won gold medals at two Junior Grand Prix Finals, plus five golds and one silver on the Junior Grand Prix circuit.
In 2010, 2011, and 2012, they captured back-to-back-to-back world junior titles. Their biggest margin of victory came in 2010, where they topped the competition by a whopping 13-plus points.
Sui and Han have landed high-drama, high-value elements in competition. First, the throw quadruple Salchow, where Han lifts and throws Sui perpendicular to the ice so she rotates four times before landing on her feet. The pair has also completed quadruple twists (Han throwing Sui into the air, parallel to the ice, so she rotates four times before he catches her and sets her down on the ice) in competition.
Struggles with injury
Sui underwent ligament and tendon surgeries on her right ankle and her left foot in the spring of 2016 and had to stay off the ice for nearly nine months. During this time, Han practiced alone or “borrowed” other pair girls from their practices, but he said they didn’t ever feel the same.
All Sui could do in the beginning was lay in bed for three months, but she was eventually cleared to learn how to stand and walk. Then, she had to learn to skate all over again. She was back on the ice by December 2016.
During part of the 2012-13 season, Sui was off the ice again while recovering from epiphysitis.
“I think after the operation something has been changed. I became more and more enjoying our performances on the ice, I enjoy the cheers and the applause of the audience and I enjoy every moment on ice. When I was very young, the first day I took the ice, the World Championship became my dream. I always kept this dream in my heart and we worked really hard.” – Sui said in a press conference after winning the 2017 World title with Han
“We feel very lucky because the China will be hosting the 2022 Olympic Games, so all the people and the government give us a lot of support. We want to be better and we want to be the best for ourselves and get ready mentally and physically so we can make the best performance for our country.” – Han told media after winning the 2017 World title
Sui and Han have never competed at an Olympics prior to PyeongChang 2018.
Outside the rink
During her time off the ice with injury, Sui studied English. She likes reading, music, and surfing the internet.
Han enjoys playing computer games and basketball, reading, and listening to music.
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