Chinese Olympic skaters penalized after historic snowboarding medal
Liu Jiayu, of China, celebrates winning silver after the women's halfpipe finals at Phoenix Snow Park at the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea, Tuesday, Feb. 13, 2018. [Photo: IC]
It has been a day of mixed results for China at the PyeongChang Winter Olympic Games. The country finally got its long-awaited first medal, only to see its domination in short track speed skating come to an end.
Snowboarder Liu Jiayu made history by winning a silver medal in Ladies' Halfpipe at the Phoenix Snow Park. It was China's first ever Olympic medal in snowboarding.
The three-time Olympian has been struggling with injuries but she says she now has a whole new perspective about her sport.
"I think my attitude has changed. I have loved this sport and have been passionate about it, so my goal changed as I returned to the Olympic Games. I love snowboarding, I enjoy snowboarding. The results don't matter to me, I just wanted to be able to enjoy it and do my best every day. That would make me the happiest girl."
After Liu's success on the snow, Chinese fans were hoping short track speed skater Fan Kexin could upgrade the day's silver medal to gold in the ladies' 500 meter. Instead of a medal, Fan was given a penalty in the semifinals.
Fan lamented all her efforts made over the last four years, but is resolved not to let the setback beat her.
"I poured my heart and soul onto the tracks, with everything I did in the past 4 years. Nobody wanted this to happen, I didn't want it to happen, but I don't want the negativities to impact the upcoming 3-thousand meter relay. I will leave all of them behind and go for the Olympic medal in the relay."
Elise Christie of Great Britain and Kim Boutin of Canada get past a falling Chunyu Qu of China during the Ladies' 500m Short Track Speed Skating semifinal on day four of the PyeongChang 2018 Winter Olympic Games at Gangneung Ice Arena on February 13, 2018 in Gangneung, South Korea. [Photo: VCG]
Fan's teammate Qu Chunyu was also penalized in another semifinal heat. That marks an end for China's 16-year reign in the ladies' 500 meter. The discipline was won by Italian veteran Ariana Fontana.
The penalties did not end there for China. Men's 1000 meter medal hopeful Han Tianyu was also dismissed from the preliminaries, along with his teammate Ren Ziwei.
Wu Dajing was the only survivor of the night. He became China's only remaining hope in the men's 1,000 meter final.
Wu and his teammates were quick to move on, as they stormed into the men's 5,000 meter relay final with a new Olympic record.
Wu says they anticipated it would be hard competing against the hosts.
"We thought about this before we came. We're in South Korea afterall, which is not our home. We knew it would be hard but didn't know it would be this hard. My heart went out to my teammates but there is nothing we could do except to accept it. We want to keep working with a positive attitude in order to present a better result to Chinese people. We will demonstrate our sportsmanship and hope for a good result."
Apart from the relay, Wu is also carrying the hope for China's in the men's 500 meter.