Wang Guan on Beijing Winter Olympics: Humanity prevailed through sport

Editors Note: In the latest episode of Reality Check on the Beijing Winter Olympics, CGTN anchor Wang Guan argues that though sport can never be totally free of politics, it should never let politics "get the better of itself." If anything, sport should shape politics and inspire and oblige more governments and politicians to follow the same spirit of fair play.

As someone who grew up playing competitive sports, I've had the greatest respect for athletes. Watching the Olympics every four years is honestly like a get-away for me. Because the games remind me of the most beautiful things in this life.

Get out of your comfort zone and push yourself to the absolute limits.

Give it everything you got even when the odds are against you. 

And respect the rules of the games and your opponents, and accept defeat when it's hard to do so.

At a time when Covid, conflicts, and "the bad news" dominate our headlines, the athletes at these Beijing Winter Olympics showcased the best humanity has to offer. They reminded us of why sport.

Faster, higher, stronger. To these Olympians they are not just lofty words but decades of training, repetitive motion, techniques polished to an impossible ideal and of course, raw talent too.

As an International affairs correspondent, It touches me each time to see sportsmanship, honor and solidarity displayed by these Olympians. Because they couldn't be more different from the brinkmanship, dishonesty and antagonism seen in geopolitics.

Yes, sport can never be totally free of politics. You can't avoid that. But sport should not be defined by politics. Sport should never let politics get the better of it. If anything, sport should shape politics and inspire governments and politicians to pursue the same spirit of fair play and decency.

China and Japan might not be the closest friends geopolitically. But on Chinese internet, one of the most sought-after Olympians is Japanese figure skater Yuzuru Hanyu. Millions of Chinese are enchanted by his fitness, elegance and sweet demeanor. And the feeling seems mutual.

And despite America's diplomatic boycott of the Beijing Olympics, many American athletes such as snowboarder Tessa Maud shared with her fans how China made her truly feel.

And let's not forget the one and only Eileen Gu who herself is a marriage of China and the United States. Unfortunately, In the past few days, the U.S. media especially those on the Right politicized her identity and criticized her choice to represent China.

And now if you read Eileen Gu's decision in 2019 to represent China, she said,

"The opportunity to help inspire millions of young people where my mom was born, during the 2022 Beijing Olympic Winter Games is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to help promote the sport I love...If I can help to inspire one young girl to break a boundary, my wishes will have come true."

Well, ever since Eileen Gu's Olympic victory, some ski resorts in and around Beijing have said there's a dramatic jump in new membership sign-ups, mostly young girls aspiring to learn skiing.

And it's not hard to image the conversations among the next generation of skiers in China many years from now. It could be like, "how did you get started in this sport?" "well I watched Eileen Gu at the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics and I want to be like her and go to the Olympics too."

And that would be the best thing about these Games—its ability to inspire young people to take up sports and enjoy the endless fun sports can bring them.

Script: Wang Guan

Editors: Liu Shasha, Chang Xiaolong

Designer: Qi Haiming

Producer: Zhao Yunjie

Supervisor: Mei Yan

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