The 2022 Winter Olympics are the second Games to be held during a global pandemic, but even that hasn’t stopped over 2000 athletes from nearly 100 nations from their Olympic dreams
Running from February 4 to 20, here are five Chinese Olympic debutantes to keep your eye out on:
After Hong Kong’s immense success at the Summer Olympics in Tokyo, the city takes another huge leap as it sends its largest delegation to date to the Winter Olympics. The only female on the team, Audrey King, 19, is set to kick things off for Hong Kong with the women’s slalom on February 9. Originally trained in gymnastics, skiing for King was a sideline hobby that began at the age of three. Despite having shown great potential in the sport, she only went on to train professionally after joining the Hong Kong team at age 13. King debuted in competitions the next year and by age 15, spent all her school holidays on the slopes to train.
Earlier last week King had tested positive for COVID upon arrival in Beijing but has now been allowed to leave quarantine and return to the Olympic village after two negative tests.
At 22 years old, Sidney Chu is the latest sensation on Chinese social media. After his appearance as Hong Kong’s flag bearer at the opening ceremony had netizens swoon over his good looks. A graduate of George Washington University, the professional athlete began his journey on ice with hockey. Soon realising the sport wasn’t for him, Chu found himself falling in love with speed skating.
Chu will be competing in the 500m short track speed skating on February 11.
Born in Malaysia to a Hong Kong father, Adrian Yung, 17, is the youngest member of the squad and the first men’s skier to represent Hong Kong at the games. Much like King, his first taste of the sport was when he was three years old on a family ski trip in Hokkaido while watching his siblings hit the slopes. After moving to England at the age of six, Yung began to delve into the world of competitions and was selected to be part of the Under 14 England Alpine Ski squad.
Yung is set to participate in two events – slalom and giant slalom – on February 13 and 16 respectively.
The first Chinese snowboarder to win a World Cup big air title and the first rider in history to land 1800s two ways in a FIS competition. At 17 years old, Su Yiming is already set to be one of the biggest names in snowboarding. A former child actor, Su is China’s latest hope for gold after his spectacular performance in the men’s snowboard slopestyle on Sunday that had rivals gushing with praise.
Freeski star and model Eileen Gu needs little introduction. With numerous achievements and accolades under her belt: the first woman to land a double cork 1440 in freeskiing; first X Games rookie to win three medals; first-ever freeskier to win multiple awards in a year; 18-year-old Gu is another one of China’s brightest hopes for gold.
The “snow princess” will be competing in all three freeski disciplines: half-pipe, big air and slopestyle.