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Olympic champion ready to welcome world for Beijing 2022

By Guan Xiaomeng | chinadaily.com.cn | Updated: 2021-10-28 10:54
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Yang Yang talks to Ian Goodrum, China Daily's reporter, on Tuesday in Beijing. [Photo by by Qiao Yuhao/chinadaily.com.cn]

After attending the delayed Tokyo Games this summer, Yang said she was deeply touched by the world coming together despite still being affected by the pandemic. "A safe Games is the priority of everyone, and we will firmly follow the COVID-19 guidelines during the Games. Beijing is prepared."

Yang, 46, was born in Heilongjiang province in Northeast China, the regional home to China's winter sports because of its climate. When she retired in 2006 after the Turin Winter Games with a 1,000-meter bronze medal, China was still lacking a strong foundation in snow sports.

China won a historic five golds at the Vancouver Games in 2010 in its traditional strengths, short track speed skating and figure skating. It was not until after the Pyeongchang Games in 2018 that China established national teams for nearly all the sports in Winter Olympics, including skeleton and bobsled.

China's long jump-turned skeleton athlete Geng Wenqiang has even made podium finishes in international competitions in the run-up to 2022.

During the celebrations to mark the 100-day countdown, which began on Wednesday, Yang visited venues and talked to athletes to check on the preparation work. Yang, a mother of two, is eager to present the stage for a new generation of athletes.

"It is your stage. Enjoy the moment, even with pressure. And later on it will be something you will always remember and cherish."

Though she is perhaps one of the busiest people in the world right now, that experience is just as enjoyable as it was in the past.

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