24. Xiaoyu Yu/Hao Zhang CHN
2017 Asian Winter Games free skate
After the Great Chinese Pair Switcheroo of 2016, Hao Zhang, who started competing internationally 18 years ago, was onto his third successful pair partnership. We know that Xiaoyu Yu would be a strong partnership for Zhang, but we didn't quite know how well they would gel in their very first season together.
Zhang has always been the powerhouse pair partner, but Yu brought a lyrical, gentle side of skating to him. And in just their first season together, this is already the most complete partnership that Zhang has been in. She has pushed him to be a stronger skater, and their results this season showed exactly that.
Though they were a strong fourth at the World Championships, Yu/Zhang had their strongest skate at the Asian Winter Games just a few weeks before. It's yet another restart for Zhang, and this one may very well be the most fruitful one - even if he already has an Olympic medal from over a decade ago.