But the big surprise tonight was their teammates Pang Qing and Tong Jian moving up from fourth to second place with a clean long program.
This is the third Olympics where Shen and Zhao were considered threats. But in 2002, a missed attempt on a quad throw that was so close to being landed, forced them to settle for bronze. In 2006, after an injury sidelined the team for much of the season, they barely skated to a bronze medal in Torino.
After winning the 2007 World Championships, they stepped out of the spotlight, got married and retired from competitive skating. But this they returned with one goal in mind, to win Olympic Gold.
But tonight in their freeskate, they had a problem with a dismount on one of their lifts. This team only seems to have mishaps and falls at the Olympics. However, they had a big enough point lead after the short program to remain in first spot.
The German team of Aliona Savchenko and Robin Szolkowy, expecting to be a threat for the gold after winning the last two World Championships, faltered and took the bronze.
It's nice to see two thirty-somethings be crowned Olympic champions -- (Shen is 31, Zhao 36) -- after it looked like their careers were over. Eight years is a long time to wait for things to finally go your way.