With the Beijing Winter Olympics in full swing, athletes from various countries have created heartwarming scenes, one after another, both on and off the ice and snow of the competition venues, which has vividly demonstrated the Olympic motto of “Faster, Higher, Stronger – Together.”
1. Relentless pursuit of one’s dream.
Gold medalist Xu Mengtao of China attends the award ceremony of freestyle skiing women's aerials at Zhangjiakou Medals Plaza of the Winter Olympics in Zhangjiakou, north China's Hebei Province, Feb. 15, 2022. (Xinhua/Deng Hua)
On the evening of Feb. 14, Chinese athlete Xu Mengtao won her first ever Olympic gold medal at the freestyle skiing women’s aerials final, also the first gold medal Chinese female athletes have ever won at the event in Olympic history. During her 20-year-long athletic career, she never gave up no matter whether she suffered from injuries or hit low ebbs. “I’m simply doing what I love and pursuing my dream,” she said.
Zoi Sadowski-Synnott from New Zealand nailed down a gold at the women’s snowboard slopestyle final on Feb. 6. It was then when Julia Marino from the U.S. and Tess Coady from Australia rushed to her side excitedly and congratulated her. Such sincere congratulations to a rival fully demonstrated friendship and being “together.”
3. Rivals are also friends.
Fan Suyuan (2nd L) and Ling Zhi (2nd R) of China pose for photos with Christopher Plys (L) and Vicky Persinger of the United States after their curling mixed doubles round robin game of the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics at National Aquatics Center in Beijing, Feb. 5, 2022. (Xinhua/Wang Jingqiang)
After the curling mixed doubles round robin session with the American team on Feb. 5, the Chinese team members Fan Suyuan and Ling Zhi gave their rivals a Bing Dwen Dwen commemorative badge as a gift. Later, they also received a gift from the latter in return. “Curling was originally a social sport, and exchanging gifts is a tradition,” said Ling Zhi, adding that they hoped to show their friendliness with the gift.
Jia Zongyang of China competes during the freestyle skiing mixed team aerials final at Genting Snow Park in Zhangjiakou, north China's Hebei Province, Feb. 10, 2022. (Xinhua/Yang Shiyao)
The Chinese team won a silver during the freestyle skiing mixed team aerials final on Feb. 10. Jia Zongyang, one of the team members, felt so sorry for his mistakes that he shed tears during an interview after the competition. His teammates, Xu Mengtao and Qi Guangpu were kind enough to comfort him. In fact, Jia and Qi have both suffered major injuries during previous training sessions and competitions. The fact that they remain standing at Olympic venues today is already admirable.
Jenise Spiteri from Malta, the country’s first ever Winter Olympic athlete and the only Olympian representing Malta at Beijing 2022, didn’t earn a final qualification at the highly competitive women’s snowboard halfpipe qualification run on Feb. 9. While waiting for her points, she grabbed a red bean paste bun, took a bite, and then smiled into the camera. It’s her dream to help her country become a part of the Winter Olympics. Though she didn’t qualify for the final, she did win in some way when she stood at the Olympic competition venue all by herself.
6. Bravery to challenge the impossible.
Hanyu Yuzuru of Japan performs during the figure skating men single skating free skating of the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics at Capital Indoor Stadium in Beijing, capital of China, Feb. 10, 2022. (Xinhua/Zhang Yuwei)
Japanese figure skater Hanyu Yuzuru fell when attempting a quadruple axel (4A) jump during the figure skating men’s single skating free skating on Feb. 10 and finished in fourth place. His jump was recognized by referees as a 4A, something no figure skater has ever done successfully in competitions. “It is my goal to achieve the impossible,” he once said, reflecting the fact that the Japanese star athlete repeatedly challenged himself and interpreted the Olympic spirit with courage in his own way.
7. Fear for nothing.
Georgian luger Saba Kumaritashvili finished 31st at the luge men’s singles run on Feb. 6. His cousin Nodar died in a training accident right before the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics, but the tragedy didn’t make the Kumaritashvili family, whose identity is deeply rooted in the sport, give up their passion. “Nordar didn’t just bring me sorrow, but strength,” said the Georgian luger.
Claudia Pechstein of Germany takes part in a training session at the National Speed Skating Oval in Beijing, capital of China, Jan. 31, 2022. (Xinhua/Wu Wei)
During the speed skating women’s 3000m held on Feb. 5, German veteran Claudia Pechstein, who will soon celebrate her 50th birthday, made her eighth Olympic appearance. Though she ended up in last place, Pechstein, the first female athlete in the world to participate in eight Winter Olympics, said that she was smiling when she slid past the finish line. Over the past more than 30 years, she has claimed five Olympic gold, two silver and two bronze medals.