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Young volunteers carry forward inspirational Olympic spirit

China Daily | Updated: 2022-05-11 07:30
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The young Chinese athletes shone on the ice and snow at the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics and Paralympics, while many Chinese youths were also committed to their roles as officials and volunteers, presenting the world with a streamlined, safe and splendid Games.

The legacies of Beijing 2022 include world-class venues for winter sports competitions and young talent with a great passion for contributing to a country with a thriving winter sports sector.

Liu Yuanjie, who was born in 1994, joined the operation team of the National Speed Skating Oval as an intern in 2018, but now, in the eyes of her colleagues, she has already become a veteran of the "Ice Ribbon".

Over the past four years, Liu witnessed how the carbon dioxide refrigerants were introduced to make the "fastest" ice ever, where around a dozen Olympic and world records were broken during the Games.

"I felt a sense of honor each time a new record was achieved here, which was also an award for all of the venue's operation officials," says Liu, who was a manager at the venue's operation center during the Games, functioning as a nerve center to ensure smooth coordination of operation teams.

The National Speed Skating Oval is currently set to open to the public, and Liu and her colleagues are preparing for the Ice Ribbon's next stage.

"Sustainable development is an important concept of the Beijing Winter Olympics," Liu says, adding that she'll work hard and will always keep her Olympic journey in mind.

Xie Xiaoyu, a 25-year-old ski instructor in Yanqing district, one of the three competition zones of Beijing 2022, tried different jobs before learning how to ski in 2017. "I couldn't have been more excited on Jan 8 this year, when I was informed I would be involved in the Beijing Winter Olympic and Paralympic Games as a national technical official, or NTO, in Alpine skiing," says Xie.

With a passion for skiing, he spent more than a year training to become a ski instructor at a local ski school.

"Many of my students had little access to skiing before, while the youngest was only around 2 years old. I was really delighted to see them make progress each time, which also made me realize that I chose a meaningful career and the right one for me."

As he was skilled in skiing and had obtained the national certificate to become a ski instructor, Xie applied for the position of NTO at the National Alpine Skiing Center last year. To his surprise, his dream came true. During the Games, he usually got up at 3 am and finished his work-cleaning the piste-at about 6 pm. "Those days were busy, but I didn't feel tired at all. We had a 59-year-old team leader who was always diligent and energetic. He set an example, inspiring us to achieve the best," he recalls.

Now, Xie has returned to the ski school to create training plans for his students. "Skiing has become popular across China as more than 300 million people have participated in winter sports. I want to visit more ski resorts in the future, bringing the happiness of skiing to more people," Xie adds.

While Xie concentrated on the track conditions during the Games, Shu Jingyan, a volunteer at the National Alpine Skiing Center, introduced Chinese culture to athletes and officials from other countries and regions.

Shu is a college student majoring in foreign languages at Beihang University, or Beijing University of Aeronautics and Astronautics. During the Games, she offered language services to the Olympic and Paralympic delegations for nearly 450 hours in total. "We represent Chinese youths who are enthusiastic and confident," Shu says.

Thomas Bach, the president of the International Olympic Committee, visited the National Alpine Skiing Center on Feb 7, during which time Shu presented him with a Chinese paper-cutting containing elements pertaining to the Chinese Spring Festival and the Winter Olympics.

"I introduced the paper-cutting to Bach, and he really liked it. He praised our work and told us to cherish our Olympic moments, which lifted all of us. I will treasure the Olympic memory my whole life," Shu recalls.

After the Games, Shu and other volunteers from the university shared their experiences with college students and local residents.

"What impressed me the most during the Olympics was the friendship beyond national boundaries. In the future, I hope to make a contribution to foreign affairs, providing friends from all over the world with a better understanding of China," Shu says.


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