Top European athletes raring for Winter Olympics

Xinhua | Updated: 2022-01-22 11:10
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Germany's Claudia Pechstein is in action during the Women's 3000m of ISU European Speed Skating Championships, on Jan 7, 2022. [Photo/Agencies]

BERLIN - Less than two weeks to go before the 24th Olympic Winter Games begins in Beijing, athletes across Europe are getting ready to go for Olympic glory.

Keep the dream alive

When 49-year-old Claudia Pechstein learned that she qualified for the Beijing Games, the German speed skating icon felt she could "hug the entire world." She will now become the first woman to compete in eight Olympic Games, crowning her illustrious career.

German bobsleigh athlete Francesco Friedrich, 32, winner of 13 world championships and double gold medalist at the 2018 Winter Olympics in PyeongChang, South Korea, is practicing hard as he is looking forward to further improve his medal tally in China.

Figure skaters Juulia Turkkila and Matthias Versluis, both 28, will be the first pair from Finland to compete in ice dancing at an Olympic Winter Games.

"It has been our dream for a long time, and it was an unbelievable feeling to find out that we had secured the spot on Finland's Winter Olympics team," Turkkila said. "We want to prove that it is possible to reach the top in ice dance even for athletes coming from a small country."

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