Sportsmanship is the shiniest gold medal: Global Times editorial
Published: Feb 10, 2022 11:47 PM
Photo: Li Hao/GT

Photo: Li Hao/GT

When South Korean skater Hwang Dae-heon captured gold in the men's 1,500-meter short track final on Wednesday, the Chinese Embassy in South Korea on Thursday sent a congratulatory message to Hwang and Team South Korea. The true charm of the Olympics is not only the higher, faster, stronger competitive level it presents, but also the spirit of "togetherness" it carries, the message said. 

The Beijing Olympic Winter Games are nearly halfway done. When athletes' wonderful performances leave unforgettable memories, disputes and divergences are emerging among Chinese and foreign netizens over the results of some competitions. The statement the Chinese Embassy in South Korea issued has well responded to this kind of debate.

Netizens from all over the world may have intense emotions about the competitions. But in general, Chinese society has gained a much deeper understanding of sportsmanship. 

For instance, young Chinese snowboarder Su Yiming, born in the 2000s, could have won the gold medal. The head judge of snowboarding admitted a mistake had been made in their judgment, but Su himself said he was in good shape and had done the moves he wanted to do.

Another Chinese athlete, short track speed skater Ren Ziwei, missed the short track speed skating 1,500m final due to a foul. He accepted the result in a calm and honest attitude, saying he made a rookie mistake and "my mistake is my mistake." 

After Japanese figure skater Yuzuru Hanyu failed on the quad Axel, or "4A," a highly difficult jump, during his performance, countless Chinese netizens still feel touched and applaud him for his spirit of pushing his limits. 

In competitive sports, there are always winners and losers, and there are always cheers and disappointments. This is human nature. 

For example, the South Korean team has always been very strong in short track speed skating. The Korean public generally has high hopes to see them win medals. When South Korean short track speed skaters were disqualified in the semifinals of the men's 1,000 meters, strong disappointments emerged. This is understandable. 

But respecting the judges' decision itself is respecting the rules, the competitions and the opponents. If one believes only victory means justice yet losing a game must be because of a plot, this is not real sportsmanship. 

There have been reports that Chinese students were being beaten in South Korea in the past two days. If this is related to the Olympic Winter Games, it is a grave desecration of the Olympic spirit. 

It is hoped that the relevant parties can seriously investigate the matter and protect the legitimate rights and interests of Chinese students.

In any case, professional issues should be dealt with in a professional manner. Disputes on the fields of play should not spill over to other fields, and the Olympic spirit should be the biggest winner of all kinds of sporting events. 

The Beijing Winter Olympics are the eighth edition that German speed skater Claudia Pechstein, coming to 50, participated in. This time, she finished off the podium and her 20-year Olympic record was also broken. She still felt happy and calm. She displayed "persistence is victory" on the skating rink.

In the women's big air freestyle skiing event, Chinese athlete Gu Ailing, also known as Eileen Gu, won the gold medal. Together with bronze medalist Mathilde Gremaud of Switzerland, Gu comforted Tess Ledeux of France, who missed the gold by only 0.75 points. This became a warm scene worthy of people's memory. 

All these scenarios have once again proved that intense competition can inspire each other's potential and can also be a bond of respect, understanding and friendship.

Good results are not reflected merely in the number of medals, but more in the Olympic spirit they demonstrate by constantly improving and excelling themselves. This fully explains the sporting pursuit of today's Chinese people. 

A few days ago, a large banner on the wall of the training hall of the Chinese Olympic delegation became popular on the internet, which said "getting clean gold medals." This is also a reflection of the mentality of the Chinese people. It is the pursuit of today's Chinese society to strive for gold medals in an ethical, moral and clean manner. Those athletes who work hard and challenge themselves on the field, no matter where they come from, will win the respect and applause of the Chinese people.

We sincerely hope that during the Olympic Winter Games, athletes from different countries and regions can transcend themselves and vividly interpret the Olympic spirit. 

We wish Team China all the best and we cheer for all the other teams!