Coming into the 2014 Paralympic Games, China had amassed an impressive 326 gold, 259 silver, and 198 bronze medals 1984-2012, but all 783 of them had come in the Summer Games. The best result at a Winter Games had been a fifth place finish by Peng Yuanyuan in the women’s 5km cross-country classic style standing in Vancouver four years ago.
Stephon Marbury could be in line for a second statue in Beijing. Having missed most of the season through injury, he has inspired the Beijing Ducks in the CBA playoffs, leading them into a finals showdown against the Xinjiang Flying Tigers after a 3-2 series win against the Guangdong Southern Tigers.
Paralympic action starts today in Sochi with China’s 10-strong contingent looking to claim the country’s first ever Winter Paralympic medal. Five of the 10 form the curling team, which finished third at the World Championships in both 2012 and 2013, so a medal is a definite possibility. The other five are cross-country skiers: no red hot favorites, but results have been improving and a podium finish is not out of the question.
The Chinese delegation came away from Sochi with 3 gold medals, 4 silvers and 2 bronze, good for 12th in the medals table. China Sports Insider reviews the highs and lows…
Zhang Hong, gold, 1,000 m speed skating. Starting in the 7th of 18 heats (when the top ranked skaters typically go at the end), Zhang started slowly but then turned on the burners. Her time ripped up the track record and no one even came close – her winning margin was bigger than the previous four finals combined. Best of all, it was China’s first ever long track Olympic title.
It’s late so I’ll make this quick…
China’s short track team delivered a solid performance on Friday night, winning medals in each of the final three short track races:
Here are a few things we’ve been reading on China’s Olympic progress:
The BBC’s Martin Patience makes the good point that Zhangjiakou doesn’t have a hill large enough to host the downhill were China to win the 2022 Olympics. Fake snow? Check. Clear the skies? No problem. Bigger hill? Hmmm….
Day 13 was a quiet one for China in Sochi with figure skaters Li Zijun and Zhang Kexin finishing 14th and 15th respectively in the ladies solo competition, but Day 14 could be big one…
After making history by reaching their first ever Olympic semifinal, the Chinese men’s curling team fell short against Canada on Wednesday night, losing 10-6 in a high-scoring game that equaled the record for total number of points in a semifinal.
Day 11 review
Aside from the drama of the women’s 3,000 m relay – which ended China’s Olympic short track streak in the women’s events at six – there were a couple of heats: 500 m winner Li Jianrou and Fan Kexin safely made it through to the quarterfinals of the women’s 1,000 m, though Liu Qiuhong was disqualified for impeding another skater; on the men’s side, Liang Wenhao, Han Tianyu and Wu Dajing all won their heats and progressed through to the quarterfinals, which start late on Saturday night.
Aside from the comparative disappointment of only winning a bronze medal in the men’s aerials, Day 10 was a good one for China.
The men’s curling team – which only made its Olympic debut in 2010, finishing 8th – won through to its first Olympic semifinal on Monday with a 6-5 win over Great Britain. China’s skip, Liu Rui, led his team to a 7-2 record in the round-robin competition – bettered only by 2013 world champion Sweden (8-1) – and will now face Canada on Wednesday evening for a place in the final.