‘Best care’ in Beijing hospital saves Polish luger’s Olympic dreams, enhances understanding of Chinese people
Published: Feb 13, 2022 07:37 PM
Photo: Screenshot of Mateusz Sochowicz's Instagram

Photo: Screenshot of Mateusz Sochowicz's Instagram

Polish luger Mateusz Sochowicz inspired many for his return to the track for the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympic Games, where he suffered a serious injury less than three months ago, and his treatment in Beijing not only saved his Olympic dreams but also helped him establish a better understanding of Chinese people. 

Sochowicz, who smoothly completed all his competitions for the Olympics and returned to Poland on Saturday, told the Global Times that he wanted to convey a message that we should never give up and we can always get up. "Anything is possible," he said. 

According to the luge athlete, the most important reason for him to return to the Olympics was that he wanted to join in his team for the competition, and he did not want to miss out on the four years of preparation for the Olympics. 

Sochowicz fractured a leg during training in the Yanqing National Sliding Center on November 8, 2021, and he was quickly sent to the hospital for surgery. 

Not even three months later, he was back in the same stadium and finished all his three runs and team relay competition from February 5 to 10. 

He said his results were not satisfactory, as it still takes time for him to return to previous state, but he was happy that he could still take part in the team relay, which means a lot to him.

He did not win a medal, but his appearance and performance gained him lots of respect. 

Sports Illustrated, an American sports magazine, called him "the most admired luger." The magazine quoted Tucker West, a luger from the US, as saying that "To come back on a track that quite nearly put him out for the rest of his life is very impressive."

Getting back to a sport in such a short time for a serious injury was never an easy thing, no matter whether it's from bodily pain or overcoming the fear of sledding.  

When ordinary people would have just been getting back on their feet, "I was already starting to get back to sport," Sochowicz said. 

"This is how I came to the hospital for a second time to see the doctors and nurses who looked after me after the accident," Sochowicz said, explaining that he made sure to visit the Peking University Third Hospital (Yanqing Hospital) again on his return to China for the Olympics.

The treatment in the hospital guaranteed his quick recovery and also helped him have a better understanding of Chinese people. 

On his second visit, doctors conducted health checks and Sochowicz was happy to see them again. 

"I put my signature on the hospital poster and gave Olympic pins to the staff," he said. 

He said that when he was sent to the hospital for surgery, he told the doctor that he did not like Chinese people, but "I just did not understand their behavior and language." When he got to know the medical staff and started talking to them, and felt the great care and treatment they offered, "I changed my mind and even now, I keep in touch with the doctor who looked after me," he said. 

When he left for Poland after surgery in November 2021, Sochowicz posted photos of himself with the doctors on Instagram saying the experience taught him not to judge people by their appearance, especially when they were covered by tight protective coveralls. 

Medical staff members at the hospital were also happy for Sochowicz for his return to Olympics, the Global Times learned from the hospital on Sunday. 

Sochowicz was just one of the injured foreign athletes who received good treatment at Peking University Third Hospital. 

Karl Stoss, president of the Austrian Olympic Committee, praised the medical staff at the hospital on February 8 when visiting an injured Austrian athlete who suffered from multiple fractures in training and received surgery in the hospital, the Global Times learned from the hospital. 

American skier Nina O'Brien who suffered from an open fracture in the competition on February 8 also received treatment at the hospital. She posted on her Instagram later that "I want to say thank you to everyone who's taken care of me, especially those who rushed to me in the finish and my doctors and nurses in Yanqing."