Athletes to watch at Beijing 2022: Wu Dajing
Published: Jan 20, 2022 10:16 PM
Editor's Note:

The Beijing Winter Olympics are set to kick off on February 4. Global Times has picked some of the biggest names to keep an eye on.

Photo: GT


It came as no surprise that Wu Dajing was named among the Chinese speed skating squad tasked with keeping up the country's remarkable record in the sport for the upcoming Beijing 2022 Winter Olympic Games next month.

Wu delivered for his country at the last Winter Games in Pyeongchang, four years ago when he came home first on the final day of short-track speed skating competition in South Korea. 

The defending men's 500-meter individual gold medal winner is expected to be the man to beat again this time out. He qualified for Beijing 2022 with a Short Track Speed Skating World Cup win late last year, winning one of four 500-meter events held in the Netherlands in November.

Wu was the only gold medalist among the Chinese contingent in ­Pyeongchang and the hope is that they will win more medals on home snow and ice. The 27-year-old will certainly be aiming to do his part for his country, once more, and the focus in training has been on the Winter Olympics.

"Our training now is more specific, targeting problems found during the World Cup," Wu told the media earlier in January. As the Olympics approach, I have a clear goal for myself. I will be fully prepared and looking forward to the Games."

Wu Dajing competes in a men's 500-meter short-track speeding skating competition on November 29, 2019 in Nagoya, Japan. Photo: VCG

Wu Dajing competes in a men's 500-meter short-track speeding skating competition on November 29, 2019 in Nagoya, Japan. Photo: VCG

Wu leads a full complement of 10 skaters in Beijing, with the maximum quota of five men and five women representing China at their home Games. Speed skating has long been a medal guarantee for China at the Winter Olympics, accounting for a remarkable 10 of their 13 medals so far. 

China are tipped to win the first-ever Olympic 2,000-meter mixed relay, which will be the first gold on offer in the sport at the Beijing Games. 

They will hope for more of course, and better luck than in Pyeongchagng. "We suffered two penalties in the 1,000-meter heats before I was also disqualified in the quarterfinals," Wu said. "There were also three other penalties in the women's 500 and 1,000 meters when they reached the semifinals. Our women's relay team was also disqualified in the final. It all came down to the men's relay and 500 meters when we surprisingly won one gold and one silver."

Wu, the team captain, wants his fellow skaters to put that behind them in Beijing. "Hopefully we can work together to go from being good athletes to becoming great athletes."

A second gold from the team leader would certainly cement his reputation and with the nation watching could tip him over into superstardom. He is no doubt of his own abilities going into the Games.

"My real competitor is me," he said. "I set my own goals and will enhance my performance. I have a gold medal and the world record is mine. The best performance of the year is also mine. I need to be confident about myself."