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Figure Skating Wraps Up China Tour

After four-days of competition, the 2004 Cup of China, the fourth leg of ISU Figure Skating Grand Prix, has finished in Beijing.

The four-day tournament ended with a gala performance at the Capital Gymnasium involving all medallists at the Cup of China.

Unlike in the competing sessions, the skaters were more relaxed on ice. The perfect performances won them a sea of applause from over 5,000 spectators in the arena.

Skating fans held national flags and shouted slogans, throwing tributes onto the ice after each performance.

The gala reached its climax when China's top pair, two time world champions, Shen Xue and Zhao Hongbo, appeared in the spotlight to the romantic music from Moulin Rouge.

At the request of zealous spectators, the golden pair put on an extra show to Time to Say Goodbye, by Sarah Brightman and Andrea Bocelli, to close the exhibition.

A madam from Beijing was very excited watching Sunday's performance.

She said, "I think the performances in Beijing were excellent, especially the Chinese pairs Shen Xue and Zhao Hongbo, and Zhang Hao and Zhang Dan. It was an artistic feast."

In the past weekend, skaters from 18 countries competed in Ladies Singles, Men's Singles, Pairs Skating and Ice Dancing.

Chinese veterans Shan Xue and Zhao Hongbo took out their second Grand Prix title on home soil. American pair Tahith Belbin and Benjamin Agosto won the Ice Dancing.

Irina Slutskaya of Russia and Canadian Jeffery Buttle pocketed the gold medals of Ladies and Men's Singles respectively.

The skaters now head to Paris for the fifth leg of the ISU Grand Prix in France from November 18 to 21.

The fans in China will soon meet the skaters again as the Final of ISU Grand Prix comes to Beijing next month.

(CRI November 15, 2004)

Shen and Zhao Win Cup of China
Slutskaya Achieves Comeback Victory in China
Figure Skating Day One in Beijing
Schedule of Cup of China
Pairs Lace Up Skates for China
Figure Skating Grand Prix Comes Back to Beijing
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