Thumbs-up for Beijing 2022 volunteers, heartwarming stories of friendships: Chinese FM
Published: Feb 08, 2022 08:27 PM
American snowboarder Tessa Maud Photo: IC

American snowboarder Tessa Maud Photo: IC

As netizens worldwide are still overwhelmed by the unexpected yet heartwarming interactions between American snowboarder Tessa Maud and the volunteer who greeted her in English at the opening ceremony of the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian on Tuesday gave them, as well as many others who shared similar encounters during the Games, a large thumbs-up for delivering stories of warmth, friendship and solidarity.

The 18-year-old Maud, representing Team USA at the Beijing 2022 and competing in the halfpipe event, uploaded a vlog on Saturday in which she shared a heartfelt moment during the Beijing 2022 opening ceremony, when she yelled out "hello" in Chinese to the volunteers and one of them yelled back in English, "Welcome to China!"

Maud said that she kept watching the video that she documented over and over again, and was crying because it was the cutest thing ever. "That guy who said 'welcome to China' literally just makes me tear up every time, because they are so nice. All the volunteers are so sweet and so kind. They are just so happy that we are here. We feel so welcome." 

Zhao said at Tuesday's media briefing that he had also watched her video. "Maud's affectionate narrative has touched me," Zhao said, "I have also noticed that the volunteer that she mentioned has written back to her, wishing her a good performance and refreshing her scores, and invited her to China in the future. Numerous Chinese netizens also left her encouraging messages wishing her good luck."

The volunteer named Sun Zeyu from China's leading Tsinghua University said in an interview with the Xinhua News Agency that Maud seemed so excited while saying "hello" in Chinese that he couldn't help but yell back "welcome to China" in English to his friend from afar. After Maud's video went viral, Sun wrote a letter to Maud, telling her that he also wants to thank her because through her camera lens, Maud helped him to record the most unforgettable moment of his life and will never forget this dream moment and her kindness. 

Since the start of the Beijing Winter Games, there have been many such stories that pass on warmth, friendship, and solidarity, Zhao said, and many athletes have also said that they are enjoying and are thankful for everything they have encountered in China. 

"One of their favorites is to count how many volunteers have smiled and waved at them each day. Let us applaud the volunteers once again. They are simply great!"

Zhao noted that many athletes and journalists have been writing articles or posting short videos on social media, praising the facilities in the Olympic village as being technologically-advanced, with robots serving food in cafeterias and all kinds of healthy and delicious Chinese cuisine. "Just as what netizens said, all the love has come together because of the Beijing Winter Olympics." 

Nearly 3,000 athletes from 91 countries and regions have gathered here at the Beijing Winter Games. Some 170 official representatives from nearly 70 countries and international organizations, including 31 heads of state or top figures, also came to cheer. 

Global Times