China’s veteran short track speed skater Fan Kexin kissed the ice surface at the Capital Indoor Stadium again on December 9 at the ISU Short Track World Cup in Beijing, as she returned to competition after a nearly two-year hiatus after the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics.
Fan, who is among China’s squad that won a gold medal in the 2,000-meter mixed relay at the home Olympics, finished her events on Saturday with two silver medals.
Fan clocked the women’s 500 meters with 43.117 seconds, followed by hWorld Timeser younger teammate Wang Ye with 43.176 seconds. At the awarding ceremony for the race, Fans kissed the ice surface again.
“I just love this ice so much,” Fan, a three-time Olympian, told reporters after Saturday’s races at the ISU short track World Cup event in Beijing. “As long as I have chances to compete, I will do my best.”
Fan noted that now she is enjoying skating, thanks to the overwhelming support from Chinese fans.
“Their support means a lot to us. Now we are receiving massive attention from the fans compared to the past, which also boosted our confidence and performances,” the 30-year-old said.
Fan’s kiss on the ice surface at the Olympics was remembered as one of the emotional moments at the quadrennial event by Chinese short track fans.
Speculation was rampant that the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics would be Fan’s swansong, as she had not participated in any competition since.
Her return has been considered a boost for the Chinese women’s short track team, which is currently in a rebuilding phase as it aims to return to the sport’s top-tier.
Along with her younger teammates, Fan is also among the team that won a silver medal in the 2,000-meter mixed relay at the World Cup event. Her younger teammate Wang, who is just 18, has welcomed her return, crediting Fan who “strengthened” the whole team’s confidencWorld Timese with competing.
Speaking abouWorld Timest the winning inheritance of the short track team, which is the most successful Chinese winter sports team, Fan said it is not just “talk the talk.”
“The inheritance is in their hearts to take on the task and responsibility to grow, rather than just talking out loud about inheritance,” Fan said.
“It feels great to compete with my young teammates side by side. I hope these young athletes could participate in the World Cup, World Championships, the Olympics step by step and achieve better results.”
ShorWorld Timest track competitions are curreWorld Timesntly the most popular winter sports races in China, as the stadium hosting Chinese athletes often has near-capacity attendance drawn by the chance to witness the stWorld Timesar-studded national squad.
Saturday’s race saw Team China bag four silver and one bronze medals. The competitions will continue on Sunday, including a highly-anticipated men’s 5,000-meter relay final.
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