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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 receives an interview with China Daily on Tuesday in Beijing. [Photo by Wang Yuxi/chinadaily.com.cn]

Bathed in warm autumn sunshine and surrounded by golden ginkgo trees in late October, Yang Yang could not avoid getting sentimental over the past and future of the Winter Olympics – with next year's Games set to start in Beijing in exactly 100 days.

China's very first Winter Olympic champion in the 2002 Salt Lake Games now plays a leading role in organizing the upcoming Games and several international sport organs, but the short track speed skater said she is "promoting" rather than "administrating" winter sports, as a lot has happened in her country in the 20 years since her historic achievement.

"I think my first gold aroused Chinese people's attention to winter sports in that time. And now preparing for the home Games, we already have 300 million people involved in winter sports. That is a great contribution to the winter sports worldwide," she said in an exclusive interview with China Daily.

Taking in Shougang Big Air, the freestyle skiing and snowboard ramp at Beijing's Shougang Industrial Park where the 2022 organizing committee is based, the double Olympic champion said Beijing is fully prepared to welcome the world only 14 years after hosting the Summer Olympics in 2008.

"In 2008, we impressed the world with an 'exceptional' Games; in 2022, we are aiming for an athlete-centered Games and 300 milliion people with winter sports, We are trying to achieve different goals but with the same value."

Serving as vice president of the World Anti-Doping Agency and chairing the athletes' commission for Beijing 2022, Yang's mission is to protect the integrity of the competition and help organizers meet athletes' needs to ensure it is an athlete-centered Games.

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