‘Star chasing’ at Beijing Winter Olympic Games – first sight of skier Gu Ailing
Published: Feb 08, 2022 01:41 AM
Gu Ailing  Photo: Li Hao/GT

Gu Ailing Photo: Li Hao/GT

The Global Times reporter set out on Monday morning for the Shougang Ski Jump Platform, known as "Snow Feitian" in Beijing, the venue for the women's freeski big air qualification, hoping to catch a glimpse of top skier Gu Ailing.

Construction of the Shougang Ski Jump Platform, one of the landmark venues for the Beijing Winter Olympics, started in 2018 and was completed in 2019. The opening of the competition on Monday also marked the first international event to be hosted at the venue.

Earlier, Chinese skier Gu said in an interview after finishing the field adaptation training that she and other competitors thought the Shougang platform was marvelous.

The Global Times reporter found a good position in the media viewing area to see the athletes' takeoff and landing posture, getting a sense of the excitement of freestyle skiing. The experience also spurred admiration for the athletes, one of whom fell while warming up, before being helped by volunteers and medical staff.

Despite the impact of the epidemic, the atmosphere at the venue was still warm. Before the competition, a hip-hop performance with the theme of "Dragon Fist" was staged near the auditorium. The theme of the performance was in accordance with ski jumping, which also drew approval from reporters and the audience.

The Global Times reporter also noticed that there are Winter Olympics franchise stores around the venues with many ­spectators lining up before the events started.

On the day of the competition on Monday, many athletes made difficult moves in the first jump, which amazed the reporter at the scene, and also visibly increased the psychological burden for other competitors.

Estonian skier Kelly Sildaru, who is regarded as one of Gu's main rivals, made a mistake and only scored 40.25 points in her first run.

The Chinese skiers got most of the attention from the audience. Gu Ailing scored 89 points in her first jump, winning applause after a steady landing. 

Another Chinese entrant, snowboarder Yang Shuorui, made a mistake and scored 38.25 points. But as the DJ played the song "Red Sun," the audience applauded and tried to encourage her.

Although the reporter was in a position to have a complete view of the stands, there was still a certain distance from the players. Gu eventually left the venue and took a shuttle bus to prepare for the next round.

In the second jump, Gu made a mistake when landing and scored 24 points. The audience shouted "come on" to cheer for her. In the third round, Gu scored 72.25 points and ranked fifth, successfully advancing to the final on Tuesday morning.

Unfortunately, the reporter had to leave the competition in advance for other competitions and could not see Gu's last jump. But to be able to watch her compete on the spot, the journey was made complete.