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Olympic delegation pledges to promote nation's winter sports

By SUN XIAOCHEN | CHINA DAILY | Updated: 2022-03-01 09:49
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Chinese delegation marches during the closing ceremony of the Beijing Winter Olympic Games, Feb 20, 2022. [Photo/Xinhua]

Athletes take pride in Xi's approval after he hails their performances

Inspired by President Xi Jinping's congratulations and instruction, China's record-breaking Olympic delegation has pledged to make a greater contribution to the promotion of winter sports and the country's international image at future events.

After receiving warm greetings and encouragement from President Xi, representatives of China's Winter Olympics delegation, including snowboarding prodigy Su Yiming and champion speed skater Gao Tingyu, have taken pride from the president's approval and home fans' recognition they've earned for delivering the country's best ever performance in the history of Winter Olympics at Beijing 2022.

The accomplishments they made at the Games will help usher in a new era of winter sports development in China and motivate them to realize more dreams on the international stage, said the star Olympians.

"The moment I won the gold medal, I was so excited. Yet I knew that without the strong support of the national program I wouldn't have achieved the result I did," said Su, an 18-year-old snowboarder, who won China's first Olympic gold medal in the men's Big Air, in addition to a silver in the slopestyle, at the Beijing Winter Games.

"So I wrote a letter to the president after the Games to express my gratitude for his personal interest in our performance and the whole country's support for helping us realize our dreams on the Olympic stage.

"I cannot believe he wrote back to me so quickly, which will definitely motivate me to work harder to do my country prouder in the future."

In his reply to Su's letter, Xi, who is also general secretary of the Communist Party of China Central Committee and chairman of the Central Military Commission, urged Chinese athletes, especially the younger generation, to aim high while staying down-to-earth as they strive for a splendid life and devote their youth and strength to the country and the people, after giving them the thumbs-up for their excellent performances at Beijing 2022.

Led by young Olympians like Su and Gao, who won China's first men's Olympic speed skating gold in the 500 meters, the host delegation finished third on the Games' medals table by winning 15, including nine gold. This was China's best ever performance at the Winter Olympics since its debut at the 1980 Games in Lake Placid, New York.

The smooth organization, caring services, world-class venues and effective COVID-19 countermeasures provided during the Games, which were prepared under Xi's guidance over the past seven years, have won resounding acclaim from athletes around the world and winter sports' international governing bodies.

In his speech at the closing ceremony, International Olympic Committee President Thomas Bach summed up Beijing 2022 as a "truly exceptional" success and expressed the "deepest thanks and gratitude "to Chinese organizers, the authorities and all partners.

"Just as Bach said in his speech, Beijing 2022 was the best organized sporting event that I've participated in. I think it's a consensus that all athletes would agree with," said Gao, 24, who achieved his goal of upgrading the bronze medal he won at the 2018 Games in South Korea to gold in Beijing.

"From the venue's quality to the volunteers' warm service, everything was done to the highest standards, reflecting the overall strength of our country on all fronts," he said.

Ni Huizhong, director of the National Winter Sports Administrative Center and secretary-general of the Olympic delegation, envisions a sustainable future for China's winter sports development.

"The Beijing Winter Games have proved a golden opportunity to expand winter sports' popularity and participation among the public," he said.

"We all need to keep the president's earnest expectation in mind and push forward with confidence and fortitude in making greater achievements in winter sports development."

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