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China's short-track speed skating team prepares for Sochi Olympics

01-09-2014 09:57 BJT Special Report:Sochi 2014 Olympics |

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By CCTV correspondent Simon Pewsey

With about a month till the Sochi Olympics, many athletes are ramping up their preparation for the Games. That includes China's short-track speed skating team which is aiming to repeat the success that brought them four gold medals at the 2010 Vancouver Games.

The first ever gold medal for China at a Winter Olympiad came in short-track speed skating at the 2002 Salt Lake City Games when Yang Yang won the 500 metres.

Since then, Chinese skaters, in particular female competitors have become some of the top athletes in the sport. That was never more evident than at the last Winter Games in Vancouver, where China grabbed 4 golds.

The backbone of the team, Wang Meng, is back for her third Olympics. She is looking to add to her total of six Olympic medals. And now as a veteran, the 30-year-old hopes she can set a good example for her younger teammates.

"This will be my third Olympics, and the second for Zhou Yang and Liang Wenhao. We also have some skaters making their Olympic debuts. So our team is in a transition period and I hope that I can lead them in Sochi, and be able to pass baton to the youngsters as they will lead the team in the future," Wang says.

Wang, the most successful Chinese short-track speed skater ever is also a controversial figure in China.

She was kicked off of the national team in August 2011 after a scuffle with the team leader at a training camp. The former national team captain returned to the squad over a year later in September 2012.

The skater says she learned a lot from her time away from the sport, and is grateful for the support and encouragement from her friends and fans.

"There are so many people who have given me their care and concern. I feel that I am happier, and that I can stand on this ice rink and compete at another Olympics. I know many people are expecting me to win more titles, which is also my goal. However, I think more people are expecting to see how I conduct myself in Sochi, that is something more important than gold medals," Wang says.

Li Yan, the Godmother of Chinese short-track speed skating team, has been coaching the national squad the last eight years.

And for her, eight is enough as this will be her final Olympiad in charge.

"This will be my last Winter Olympics as a coach of the Chinese team. I will try my best to train each athlete on this team and let them experience the pleasure and happiness of such a big event as the Olympics. If everyone of them can learn something during the Games, for me, as a coach, I will have no regrets," Li says.

But her ultimate goal is to go out on top, and help China improve on the four gold medals they grabbed in Vancouver 4 years ago.

Editor:任仲希 |Source: CCTV.com