Speed skating and snowboard hold key to China’s future Olympic success

Following a more light-hearted look at China’s Olympic performance in Sochi, here’s an extract from a more serious analysis. For all the reports of China’s “disappointing” Olympics, it won more short track medals than any other country. But where else can China shine in the future? 

Freestyle skiing and snowboard, with 10 events each, are disciplines where China could make some inroads and break up North America’s dominance. The two aerials events are already peppered with Chinese competitors, and with three women in the top 10 of the snowboard halfpipe competition, more gains are certainly possible here.

But the area China should target next is speed skating, which has 12 gold medals on offer, compared to eight for the short track format.

Among nations still competing today, the Netherlands, the United States and Norway have accounted for nearly two-thirds of all gold medals in Winter Olympic speed skating history, with the Dutch accounting for 23 of 36 medals in Sochi alone. But Zhang Hong’s win – China’s first in the sport – shows that China has athletes who could break that monopoly.

Purists would argue that short and long track skating are very different, but the fact that Dutch skater Jorien Ter Mors won two long track titles in Sochi while also notching three top-six finishes in short track suggests that China could convert some short trackers with some success.

Full piece can be read here.

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