Veteran helps Team China win 1st gold at Beijing 2022


Twelve years after joining the national team, Fan Kexin finally stood up on the highest podium at the Olympic rink. Together with teammates, the 28-year-old new Olympic champion won the mixed team relay gold medal on Saturday at the Beijing Winter Olympics.

It was also the first gold for the host country at the Beijing Games, which received congratulations from the central leadership.

“On behalf of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China and the State Council, I express warm congratulations to the gold medalists and the Chinese sports delegation,” Vice-Premier Sun Chunlan wrote in a congratulatory letter on Sunday.

Sun said she expected the Chinese delegation to gain more glories for the country with fighting spirit and morality.

Fan, the leading figure of the Chinese women’s short track speed skating team, has long dreamed of winning Olympic gold.

“I’ve been waiting for this gold medal for 12 years. I’ve waited for it for so long,” Fan said after the victory, in tears. “I have always believed in the team. From the day I entered the national team, I have always believed in my teammates.”

Fan was born in September 1993 in Qitaihe, a city in Northeast China’s Heilongjiang province, which is a cradle for a number of world-renowned short track speed skaters, including China’s first Winter Olympic gold medalist Yang Yang and four-time Olympic champion Wang Meng.

Fan didn’t turn to skating as a child, but chose dancing like many other girls. However, the relatively high training costs ended her hopes of becoming a dancer, as her family ran into financial difficulties.

Since 2003, when Fan was selected by her first coach, Ma Qingzhong, to train as a short track speed skater, she worked hard at training, getting up every day at 4 am for a one-hour training session before going to school.

“We didn’t have to call her in the morning as she could get up herself,” Fan’s mother, Nie Guiling, recalled. “She was always reluctant to leave the rink and wanted to train more.”


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