China unveiled a 387-member squad for the coming Beijing 2022 Olympic Winter Games on Thursday. Star athletes such as Ren Ziwei, Wu Dajing, Sui Wenjing, Han Cong, and Gu Ailing are among the 176 competitors on the list.
The Chinese delegation, who finished the 2018 Winter Olympics with one gold, expects to get many more on home soil.
A COMEBACK ON ICE
Short track speed skating is China's strongest sport at the Winter Games. The short track team had won at least one gold in each and every Winter Games since 2002, when China got its first-ever Winter Olympic gold medal.
In total, the team contributed 10 out of China's total 13 gold medals at Winter Games.
Reigning Olympic champion Wu Dajing is ready to defend his title in the men's 500m. Ren Ziwei, who has won three golds in this season's World Cup series, is to fight for his first Olympic gold in the men's 1,500m.
The 2,000 meter mixed team relay was added into the Beijing 2022 program. With a comparatively balanced team, China is one of the top favorites in this new event.
Speed skating is also one of China's medal hopes. 22-year-old Ning Zhongyan is the most promising Chinese skater for this season. He has won two golds and two silvers from the World Cup series, and refreshed his personal best record in Canada.
Ning's fellow skater Gao Tingyu was also impressive in the pre-Olympic season, bagging one gold and one silver in the men's 500m at the World Cups.
"You can expect us to achieve something," said Li Yan, head coach of China's speed skating team.
Four years ago in PyeongChang, figure skaters Sui Wenjing and Han Cong won a silver medal in the pairs event, missing the top of the podium by 0.43 points. They recovered from injuries and managed to come back to the ice, making another attempt to realize their dreams. Another Chinese pair, Peng Cheng and Jin Yang are also competitive in the event.
The Chinese women's curling team won a bronze in Vancouver 12 years ago, but that was their best record on the Olympic stage. On home ice, the men's and women's curling teams are set to fight for a better place than third.
SEEKING BREAKTHROUGHS ON SNOW
In the past, China has not been considered a strong team on snow, but 18-year-old Gu Ailing could make a difference.
She kept winning medals in freeski halfpipe, slopestyle and big air this season. She is eager for her first show at the Winter Olympics.
"I can't wait to participate in the Winter Olympics and have high expectations for my performance," said Gu.
China has been always competitive on freestyle skiing aerials. Han Xiaopeng won the first and only Olympic gold on snow for China in 2006.
Skiing star Xu Mengtao will welcome her fourth Olympics and her 28-year-old teammate Kong Fanyu is also good enough to strive for a podium finish.
When it comes to snowboard halfpipe, Liu Jiayu and Cai Xuetong will again team up to give another try. Both of them will be four-time Olympians in Beijing, and both of them want to win gold at home.
Putting down a backside 1800 Indy and a frontside 1800 tail grab, 17-year-old Su Yiming became the first Chinese men's snowboarder to be crowned in the big air World Cup.
"It has been my dream since my childhood to participate in the Olympic Games and strive for glory for my country," said Su.
Being awarded the right to host the 2022 Olympic Winter Games in 2015, China had no experience in one-third of the 109 events at the Games.
Since then, China has made great efforts in developing those events where there are big gaps to bridge, and some breakthroughs have been achieved.
"Beijing 2022 has boosted the competitiveness of the Chinese winter sports," said Li Yingchuan, deputy director of China's General Administration of Sport.