SPORT / OLYMPICS
Taiwan's first female skier to qualify for the Beijing Winter Olympics gains great encouragement and growth in the Games
Published: Feb 14, 2022 08:33 PM
Lee Wen-yi. Photo:Courtesy of Lee

Lee Wen-yi. Photo:Courtesy of Lee


As the first female skier from the island of Taiwan to qualify for the Winter Olympics, Lee Wen-yi is the only skier who has left a trail of upward climbing in Beijing 2022 Winter Olympic Games in the competition of alpine-skiing women's slalom, where everyone races to go downhill.

On February 9, Lee, a 19-year-old Chinese Taipei alpine skier completed two trips in the Games. Although she only ranked 50th, her spirit of never give up when she fell out of the track and still insisted on climbing up the slope to finish the set target action, has harvested the audience and netizens' full of admiration.

In the competition, a mistake caused Lee to fall just after the start of her first run, causing her to miss a flag gate, if she could not return for a restart, she would be ruled unable to finish and eliminated.

"At that time, I told to myself 'you have worked so hard for so long to participate in the Winter Olympics, you can not just end here easily to go home,'" Lee told the Global Times in an exclusive interview.

So Lee chose to climb back to the flag gate that she had not passed and started again. Although she was already quite behind, she finished the play and get her ticket to the second round of the race.

"When I heard the cheering voice from the audience, I was moved and cheer myself up to finish the next match," Lee recalled.

Lee is one of the four athletes from Taiwan island to participate the Beijing Winter Olympics, and is also the first Taiwan participant to be qualified for this Games.

Due to the geographical environment, there is no natural skiing area on Taiwan, and the lack of training resources has also made it difficult for Taiwan people to qualify for winter Olympic events in the past. 

Inspired and influenced by his father, who was also a skier, Lee started skiing at the age of 4 and trained professionally at 16 years old. In order to qualify for the Beijing Olympics, she accumulated points in several international competitions, even last year reached a record of competing 25 games in 37 days, finally qualified for the Games at just five days before the points deadline, fulfilling her dream of bringing her father as her coach to the Games.

Although she ranked at the bottom of the 88 participants, Lee said that because of this, she competed without much pressure and made her Winter Olympics debut with the mindset of leaving no regrets. She also hopes that through her participation, she will make ice and snow sports more visible in Taiwan region.

However, previously, as a result of lax epidemic containment measures, Lee and her father contracted COVID-19 in contact with other competitors in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Their plans to fly to Beijing have been delayed by recovery and quarantine policies.

Lee said she felt very lucky that, after filling out the diagnosis and vaccination certificate, reporting daily physical condition, and taking the PCR test, she obtained the green code finally to enter the closed loop.

The Beijing 2022 Winter Olympic Games Organizing Committee and the Chinese authorities have refined the Games' COVID-19 countermeasures, including adjusting the criteria for determining nucleic acid test results and shortening the length of time that close contacts must be put under restriction to achieve a balance between epidemic prevention and Games.

Lee Wen-yi. Photo:Courtesy of Lee

Lee Wen-yi. Photo:Courtesy of Lee

Lee eventually arrived in Beijing on the morning of February 4. But to her regret, she was unable to complete the registration process in time to attend the opening ceremony, although she had previously informed that there was a possibility that the Taiwan authorities would not send a delegation to the opening of the Games.

In the interview, Lee also shared her experience of competing, appreciating the quality of the track and snow for the alpine skiing races in Beijing's Yanqing district. "The snow on the track is relatively hard so that the front runners don't leave too many snowboard traces when they slide by. I used to race in Europe where the race snow is very soft and slippery, it is easy to affect the players' performance."

At the same time, Lee was impressed with the service of the volunteers in the Winter Olympic Village, thanking them for actively helping her deal with the difficulties she encountered and saying she also received many requests from the staff to exchange commemorative badges with her.

"I experienced a lot of difficulties and challenges for participating the Games, I was very tired but also felt very happy, because I also gained a lot of growth, this experience is a great encouragement for me," she said.