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? Continue reading Speed skating and snowboard hold key to China’s future Olympic success
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.
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….
You win some, you lose some.
China most certainly won some earlier at these Olympics, with Li Jianrou and Zhang Hong both becoming unlikely Olympic champions alongside the more favored Zhou Yang, but it was in the aerials competitions – both men’s and women’s – where China was most expected to shine.
3G, 2S, 0B – 9th place overall
Well that was unexpected.
China won the 500 m women’s short track title for the fourth consecutive time – but no one would have guessed that Li Jianrou would be the one to do it – and then Zhang Hong (left) won China’s first ever (long track) speed skating Olympic title in an even more stunning result. It was also the first time China has won two gold medals on the same day at a Winter Olympics.
Barely three hours after winning its first gold in Sochi, China has another one. Zhang Hong surprised the field by posting a sensational time early in the women’s 1000 m (long track) speed skating event, that was simply too good for the rest. Her winning time of 1:14.02, set in the 7th of 18 heats (the best skaters typically go towards the end), was a massive 0.67 ahead of second place.
Day 5 review
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.
Day 4 review
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 later went 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.
China has long been known as a Summer Olympic powerhouse (3rd, 2nd, 1st, 2nd in last four Games), with an almost impenetrable grip on sports such as diving and table tennis, but in recent years, it has been at the Winter Olympic Games where China has made the most improvements.
China finished in 16th place in the medal table in Nagano in 1998, then posted 13th and 14th place finishes in Salt Lake City and Turin respectively, but leapt up to 7th in Vancouver four years ago and, in the process, became a genuine force to be reckoned with at the Winter Olympics. Here are the most likely contenders to win medals for the motherland in Sochi: Continue reading Winter Olympics preview: China’s medal hopes [UPDATED]