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Famous Like Me > Actress > C > Lu Chen

Profile of Lu Chen on Famous Like Me

Name: Lu Chen  
Also Know As:
Date of Birth: 24th November 1976
Place of Birth: Changchun, China
Profession: Actress
From Wikipedia, the free Encyclopedia
Chen at the Sears Canadian Open (2001)

photo © Andrea "Hoo" Chempinsky.
Figure Skating
Bronze 1994 Ladies Singles
Bronze 1998 Ladies Singles

Lu Chen (Simplified Chinese: 陈露, pinyin: Chén Lù) (born 24 November 1976 in Changchun, China) is a Chinese figure skater. Her mother was a table tennis player and her father was a hockey coach. She was coached by Li Minzhu. She is China's most successful women figure skater. She is called "Butterfly on Ice" by the fans and media in China for her popular performance to Butterfly Lovers' Violin Concerto.

Amateur Career

Early Success

Lu Chen became one of the most decorated figure skaters of the 1990s winning two Olympic and four World medals. Her success brought attention to Chinese figure skating and spurred more Chinese success.

As a young skater in the early 90's, Lu demonstrated her tremendous athletic abilities. For example, she landed seven triple jumps, including a triple Toe Loop/triple Toe Loop combination at the 1991 World Championships held in Munich, Germany. In fact, in the free skating portion of the event, she landed more triple jumps than any of the top 5 finishers. But, Lu also demonstrated great artistic potential and her skating was praised by such American commentators as Scott Hamilton and Sandra Bezic.

Later that year, she became the first Chinese figure skater to compete in the United States when she finished 4th at the Skate America competition held in Oakland, California. This finish was particularly strong considering that the competition also included Tonya Harding and Kristi Yamaguchi, the world's top two skaters at the time.

In 1992, she had even greater successes, winning the bronze medal at the Junior World Championships. She then went on to shock the skating world with a surprising 6th place finish at the Olympics. At those Olympics, she was one of a few skaters that attempted a triple Lutz combination in the technical program. Although she landed the difficult combination, she had problems executing other required elements and was ranked 11th after the opening phase of the competition. In the longer Free Skate, she landed six triple jumps, more than any of the skaters that finished ahead of her. Also, Lu's performance was remarkable in that she was the only top 6 skater that did not fall on a jump.

To the Top of the World

She followed her Olympic success with bronze medals at the 92 and 93 World Championships, the first two won by a Chinese figure skater. In 1994 she became the first Chinese figure skater to medal at the Olympic games, winning the bronze medal for a performance that included five triple jumps skated to the soundtrack from Nausicaa by Joe Hisaishi. This success was largely overshadowed by the Kerrigan/Harding controversy surrounding the Olympics.

After the 1994 Olympics, Nancy Kerrigan and Oksana Baiul (the Olympic Silver and Gold medalists, respectively) retired from amateur competition and Lu became the favorite to win the World title in 94. However, a stress fracture injury kept her out of the competition and jeopardized her career. She made a successful comeback in the fall winning the NHK Trophy in Japan. In 1995, she became the World Champion (another first for a Chinese skater) over Surya Bonaly of France and younger competitors from the USA.

Her Struggles

Lu struggled after her win at the World Championships. Although she managed top two finishes at all three events she entered in the fall of 1995, she skated inconsistently. For example, at a competition in France she finished 7th in the technical program and 1st in the free skate. Moreover, Michelle Kwan of the United States was attracting a lot of attention and praise, had won three events during the inaugural Gran Prix Series (then known as the Champion Series), and had defeated Lu Chen at Skate America. The low point of Lu's season came at the Champion Series Final, where she lead going into the free skate but dropped to 4th overall after struggling with her jumps. Therefore, many doubted Lu could repeat as the World Champion.

At the 1996 World Championships, Lu Chen skated very well--better than she had skated all season--but she finished 2nd overall to Michelle Kwan of the USA. Both skated well and both garnered two perfect marks of 6.0 for Presentation, but Kwan had edge on the technical scores and won by a vote of 6 judges to 3. Although it remains a hotly debated result, Kwan landed seven triple jumps to Lu's 6 and had harder and more varied spins, which may have been the basis for Kwan's higher technical scores.

The second place finish at the World Championships was not what Lu had wanted. Her skating deteriorated further as she struggled with injury and conflict with both her long-time coach and her skating federation. She withdrew from competitions in the fall of 1996, citing injury and was ill-prepared for the 1997 World Championships. There, she finished only 25th in the World and did not qualify for the final free skate. Nor did her finish qualify China for the figure skating competition at the 1998 Olympic Games.

Thus, in the fall of 1997, Lu, working with a new coach, had to qualify for the Olympics. She did this by winning an event in Vienna and by finishing 4th and 3rd at events in France and Japan, respectively. Still, she hadn't regained the form that had won her the World title and many doubted she could win a medal. This was because Michelle Kwan and Tara Lipinski (the top two skaters in the world at the time) seemed likely to occupy the top two spots on the podium and there were many other skaters that could challenge for the bronze medal.

Her Comeback and Farewell

At the Olympics, Lu announced her intention to retire from amateur skating after the Olympic games. Thus, her performances, took on a special significance as a comeback and as a farewell. She performed well to "Adios Noninos" in her technical program and to "Butterfly Lovers" in the free skate. Although she had struggled before the Olympics and had to fight to land her triple jumps during the competition, she was able to complete the two programs well enough to compete for a medal. But, she faced intense competition from two Russian competitors, Maria Butyrskaya and Irina Slutskaya. They too skated well, but, like Lu, made mistakes. The final placements were very close and far from unanimous. Lu beat Irina Slutskaya by the vote of 6 judges to 3 and beat Maria Butyrskara 5 judges to 4. In fact, most of the judges had Lu in 4th place, away from a medal. But, the votes for 3rd were split unevenly and because Irina and Maria both received many 4th and 5th place ordinals as well and each received few 3rd place votes, it was enough for Lu to win the Bronze medal.

Her performance was regarded as one of the great comebacks of the Olympic games and is memorable for the emotion she displayed both during and after her free skate. Immediately after the free skate, she bowed to the audience and to her coaches. She then retired from amateur skating and turned professional.

Professional life

She toured with Stars on Ice for two seasons. In July 2005 she married Denis Petrov, a Russian and 1992 Winter Olympics pairs skating silver medalist. Chen is now chief director of an ice skating club named after her in Shenzhen. She likes the job very much and hopes to train more skating athletes for the city and China.

Competitive history

  • 3rd, 1998 Olympics (Nagano, Japan)
  • 3rd, 1997 NHK Trophy (Nagano, Japan)
  • 4th, 1997 Trophee Lalique
  • 25th,1997 World Championships (Lausanne, Switzerland)
  • 2nd, 1996 World Championships (Edmonton, Canada)
  • 4th, 1996 Champion Series Final
  • 1st, NHK Trophy '95 (Nagoya, Japan)
  • 2nd, Trophee de France '95 (Contrex - Bordeaux, France)
  • 2nd, Skate America '95 (Cobo Arena, Detroit, MI)
  • 3rd, Best of the Best '95 (Byrne Meadowlands Arena, East Rutherford, NJ)
  • 2nd, Tri-Cities Pro-Am '95
  • 1st, Worlds '95 (Birmingham, Grb)
  • 1st, NHK '94 (Morioka, Jpn)
  • 3rd, Winter Olympics '94 (Lillehammer, Nor)
  • 3rd, 1993 Piruetten (Hamar, Norway)
  • 1st, 1993 Skate Canada
  • 3rd, Worlds '93 (Prague, Cze)
  • 3rd, Worlds '92 (Oakland, CA)
  • 6th, Winter Olympics '92 (Albertville, Fra)
  • 3rd, Junior Worlds '92
  • 4th, 1991 Skate America (Oakland, CA)
  • 12th, Worlds '91 (Munich, Frg)
  • 1st, Chinese National Figure Skating Competition '90-'95

This content from Wikipedia is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article Lu Chen