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 a slow day on the Olympic front for China – just Li Zijun and Zhang Kexin (currently 11th and 14th respectively) in the ladies figure skating – so here’s a picture that proves beyond all doubt that the Olympics have resulted in a huge growth for winter sports in China…
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.
It wasn’t to be for China’s veteran figure skater duo Tong Jian and Pang Qing, who made their competitive swansong on Wednesday evening in the free program of the pairs competition. They started in 4th place after their short program, and that’s where they finished, despite a free program that was third best overall. Consolation prize for retiring? They now have time to get married. Russia finished 1-2, matching China’s finish from four years ago, and the Germans were third. China’s other pair – Cheng Peng and Zhang Hao – finished in 8th.
Tuesday February 11 was a solid – but ultimately disappointing – day for China. Speed skater Zhang Hong (pictured left) pulled out the performance of the day in the first run of the women’s 2 x 500 m. Her time of 37.58 was a new track record at the time, though two competitors laterwent faster, placing Zhang in bronze medal position at the half way point. Her second race was considerably slower at 37.99 for a 4th place finish – 0.1 seconds out of bronze – but she’ll have another chance in the 1,000 m.
Despite starting the second day of the figure skating team event in bronze medal position, a disastrous ice dance by Huang Xintong and Zheng Xun in the team competition saw China ranked last out of the ten teams, gaining just a single point. Zhang Kexin didn’t do much better in the ladies short program, ranking 7th and earning four points, meaning that China finished qualification in 7th overall and missed out on a place in the final by three points. Continue reading China’s Olympics: Day 1 review, Day 2 preview→
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