On February 16, 2002, Yang Yang won China's historic first Winter Olympic gold in women's 500m short track speed skating at Salt Lake City.
20 years later, at Beijing 2022, the Chinese delegation has won six gold, four silver and two bronze medals as of Tuesday, already marking China's best performance at a Winter Olympics. On home snow and ice, Chinese athletes keep making breakthroughs and achieving new heights.
Yang Yang, now WADA's vice-president and chair of the Athletes' Commission for Beijing 2022, shared her feelings in an interview with Xinhua on this memorable day.
"I was honored to win China's first Winter Olympic gold medal 20 years ago. Now at Beijing 2022, athletes from all over the world are amazing the world with their great skills and outstanding performances, and touching people with their congratulations to each other after races. And that will inspire generations," Yang said.
The new generation of Chinese athletes are sanguine about results and are more focused on enjoying the experience, Yang added.
"Chinese athletes at these Games are more confident and willing to express themselves than we were decades ago. The development of our country enables the youth to see a bigger world with diverse culture. They want to show themselves on the world stage, and the Olympics gives them a favorable platform," she noted.
"Not only the athletes, but also our young volunteers are always energetic to welcome participants from all over the world. Their smile and confidence touches everyone," Yang added.
"When we bid for the Winter Olympics, we said we would host an athlete-centered Games. During the preparation of more than six years, our athletes' commission and the organizing committee for Beijing 2022 worked jointly with great efforts to ensure an athlete-centered Games. Now, I am really delighted to see world athletes pursue their dreams in the Olympics and enjoy the Games at Beijing 2022," she said.
"During the Beijing Winter Olympics, my heart is always with the athletes. I am excited for the excellent performance of athletes in the Games and moved by their friendship away from competition. Although on the sidelines, I can still feel the passion and emotion, which is a pleasure for me," she said.
"One being blessed never enjoys the luck alone, but shares it with others. I will continue to share my happiness with more people," Yang said. "Believe in the strength of sports."