Beijing 2022 fascinates young Chinese
Chinese gold medalist Su Yiming competes during the Men’s Big Air Final at Beijing 2022. Photo: VCG
“Now I am also longing to fly in the sky on a snowboard just like Su Yiming and Gu Ailing. I am just 16 years old so still have a chance, right?” a Beijing high-school student surnamed Fang said, explaining his inspiration for the new direction he wants to take his life after watching the Beijing 2022 Olympic Winter Games.
Fang is one of a number of young Chinese who have been charmed by the athletes at the Beijing Games and now want to be just like those snow and ice stars.
Although the Olympic Winter Games came to an end on Sunday, sports stars’ popularity has not yet lessened. Those who gave stunning performances and made numerous endeavors are still the subject of conversation among young Chinese and trending on social media.
Chinese gold medalists have become the target of young people’s worship. Fang has not watched any singer’s performances for the past couple of days as her leisure time has been mostly occupied by videos of Chinese teen athletes Su Yiming and Gu Ailing competing at the Games. She has also dug up videos of their previous competitions to better appreciate their talent and skills on the snow.
Su, 18, bagged gold during the Men’s Snowboard Big Air Final after making history by winning a silver medal in the Slopestyle, while 19-year-old Gu bagged two gold medals and one silver.
The achievements have made them shining stars and role models in the eyes of their Chinese peers.
Besides these two young geniuses, other veteran Chinese gold medalists, including 32-year-old Xu Mengtao and Qi Guangpu, have also captured young people’s hearts with their capabilities and never-give-up spirit.
Da Li, a 28-year-old woman with a hearing disability who lives in Guang’an, Southwest China’s Sichuan Province, described how she was inspired by the performance of China’s pair skaters Hang Cong and Sui Wenjing.
“It wasn’t a pity at all to watch them dance without hearing the music because I sang in my heart by watching their rhythmic movements. You don’t know how encouraging this can be to [a disabled person]. Beautiful things like this make you believe you can experience things like everyone else,” said Da Li.
“I think the Olympic spirit that athletes show is similar to what we [people in the disabled community] experience. We always seek encouragement and better ourselves despite hardship. We never give up.”
A 26-year-old netizen who goes by the handle Jerry flg told the Global Times on Tuesday that while she still loves music and acting idols, she thinks all the Olympians, especially the Chinese athletes, deserve respect and should be learned from, “because I see the spirit of hard work, unity, mutual help, peace and love from them, as well as their positive attitude toward life.”
The teenager commented that while some athletes did not win medals, their positive spirit and attitude have inspired many young people.
Fang Yu, a 34-year-old writer in Ningbo, East China’s Zhejiang Province, who suffers from cerebral palsy, said that she realized just how much Chinese society respects and accepts people of different cultures when she saw how Chinese audiences interacted with overseas athletes such as Japan’s Yuzuru Hanyu. She also added that such inclusiveness in Chinese society encourages her, saying “China is always generous in appreciating things, even when they are not Chinese.”
Hanyu has had his own fan club on Chinese social media. His fans support the figure skater not only because of his capability to bag medals but also for his courage to constantly challenge himself.
Hanyu planned to land a limit-pushing quadruple Axel jump at the Olympics but ended up in fourth place.
Evelyn, a 20-something netizen, told the Global Times that she was very touched when she saw a post on Sina Weibo from Chinese men’s ice hockey team leader Ye Jinguang.
“If a Chinese ice hockey player can stand on the top podium in 20 years, and after being asked why he plays the sport, he would answer because ‘I watched the Games in 2022,’ then that would be a success for our generation,” Ye wrote.
“I learned a sense of responsibility from him,” said Evelyn.