Photo from: China Daily
Meet Zhou Yang, a teenager from Jilin Province who won the women’s speed skating competition on Saturday, grabbing another gold for team China. Breezing to victory in the 1,500-metre short-track final, Zhou also broke the world record with a blazing time of 2 minutes and 16.9993 seconds. In an unexpected turn of events, the 18-year-old easily coasted by South Korea’s powerhouse skaters, Eun-Byul Lee and Seung-Hi Park, who have been dominating the sport and were predicted to bring home the gold.
Born in 1991 (and the youngest member on the women’s 1,500 meters speed skating team), Zhou’s young age doesn’t make her a stranger to success. In 2008 she won gold in the 3,000 meter super final for the World Short Track Speed Skating Championships and she was ranked 2nd overall within the sport. But China’s rising star still remains a humble competitor. The Washington Post reports:
Right after Zhou won, she put her hands together in a thank-you gesture. She later thanked the usual people, then added: “Last but not least, I want to thank the other competitors. Without their chasing me, I would not have succeeded. They were the force pushing me forward.”
World record-holder, Olympian Gold medalist and girlfriend’s actually thanking her shoving and pushing competition? This girl has class and apparently it pays off. People’s Daily reports that Zhou and her family will be paid a minimum of 1million yuan of prize-money for the teenager’s big win. Apparently, the money also serves as incentive for Zhou’s hometown of Changchun to churn out more winners. The city’s governor tells People’s Daily:
“As Changchun is a northern city, we have advantages in winter games and Zhou’s breakthrough encouraged us a lot to turn out more excellent athletes and more Olympic winners.”
As the XXI Winter Olympic Games slip into the homestretch this week (with only 7 more days to go), here is a quick tally of who’s nabbing the Gold, Silver and Bronze.
After the events of yesterday’s “Super Sunday”, team USA has racked up the most bling so far, with a total of 24 medals, 7 of which are Gold. Hosting country Canada has been less lucky, with a succession of performances in which the the media has dubbed…well, a bit of a disappointment.
But with 36 events still remaining through Sunday, the final outcome between the top medal winning countries is still anybody’s game. Stay tuned.