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Trailblazer Ning Qin giving back to next-gen

Updated: 2024-02-19 09:22
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Trailblazing Chinese freestyle skier Ning Qin has announced her retirement from competition due to injury but is continuing in the sport as coach of the Jilin provincial team at China's 14th National Winter Games.

"Honestly I am a little apprehensive about coaching. I only cared about my own training when I was an athlete, but now I have to take responsibility for my team," said Ning, who became the first Chinese to compete in an Olympic moguls competition at the 2014 Winter Games in Sochi, Russia, where she ranked 18th.

She first took up freestyle skiing in 2000 at the age of 8, focusing on aerials. However, she suffered a compound tibial and fibular fracture four years later, which prompted her to give moguls a try in 2008.

Looking back on her accident, Ning now views it in a positive light.

"If it didn't happen I would be nobody. Now I am part of the first generation of Chinese moguls skiing," she said.

But while Ning can look back on her career with pride, she has had to battle misfortune through the years, with injury ruling her out of the 2018 and 2022 Winter Olympics.

After becoming a mother in 2023, she returned to training with a view to competing in this year's National Winter Games in Hulunbuir. However, another heavy fall on the course resulted in an anterior cruciate ligament tear and ended her dreams once more.

"Now I can feel the fear. It may have something to do with the fact that I'm over 30 years old. I wouldn't even have thought about it when I was young," Ning said.

Now aware of how her injuries could have been avoided, Ning has learned to look at her career from a coach's perspective and hopes to impart her experiences to her apprentices and help them avoid similar scenarios.

"These young athletes now have a better training system than I did. For instance, I couldn't understand foreign coaches' instructions when I was an athlete. I didn't know why they were giving me this guidance until three or five years later. But now we know how to train these kids in the right way."

Ning noted that thanks to the government's efforts, China's winter sports scene is thriving.

"Beijing 2022 boosted the popularity of winter sports in China. People realize that skiing is not a cold and dangerous activity, and it seems that parents are willing to see children enjoying the freedom and happiness of skiing," she said.

"I have gained so much from moguls skiing, and this motivates me to come back even though I am a mom. Now my only dream is to see my trainees stand on the international podium."


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