Games present more determined China, says volunteer
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Published: Feb 24, 2022 08:16 PM
Thomas Bach and Chinese volunteer Wu Yixuan (second from right) Photo: Courtesy of Wu Yixuan

Thomas Bach and Chinese volunteer Wu Yixuan (second from right) Photo: Courtesy of Wu Yixuan

"The two Games witnessed a more self-confident, calm and determined China, and that's what I also became after staying with the very dedicated, genial and wise president Bach for 20 days," said Chinese volunteer Wu Yixuan, who accompanied International Olympic Committee President Thomas Bach during the Beijing 2022 Olympic Winter Games.

Wu, a young teacher at the Law School of Beijing Foreign Studies University, told the Global Times that she was deeply touched by the fighting spirit of Paralympic athletes when watching one event during the 2008 Beijing Summer Games, and applied for the position to serve Bach without hesitation when the Winter Games volunteer recruitment drive began.

For Wu, the style and atmosphere of the two Olympic Games were quite different and it reflected China's shifting attitude and ideas on its path toward great rejuvenation in a changing world.

"If China wanted to show 'Chinese-style brilliance' to the world in the 2008 Summer Games, then 'Chinese-style romance' could be what it tried to present in 2022," noted Wu, saying that while the latter stresses soft and delicate feelings and ideas, like carbon neutrality and sustainable development, China's hospitality, friendliness and pursuit of the Olympic spirit remain the same.

Wu said that despite making full preparations before starting her service as a volunteer, she still encountered some difficulties due to President Bach's extremely busy daily schedule.

In addition to translating and reporting on his daily activities to Chinese staffers in charge of transportation and Olympic venue management, Wu also had to accompany Bach at the unveiling ceremony of the truce mural, the Olympic opening ceremony, watching events, and various awards ceremonies, press conferences as well as the Plenary session of the International Olympic Committee.

"One of the deepest impressions he left on me is that he's so dedicated, and dealt with all his work and treated everyone he met with full enthusiasm and great energy," Wu stressed. "And at the same time, he cared about the people around him. He often asked me to confirm if I, the driver and the security staff had meals or had warm places to stay."

Wu told the Global Times that the biggest challenge during her service was having to quickly react to the sudden changes in Bach's schedule. 

"I think it is the quick and fluent communication between different sectors and the highly effective ways of dealing with sudden changes that reflect the professional qualification of Chinese staffers. 

Wu said that if Beijing 2008 greatly improved the "hardware" infrastructure across China, including sports stadium and barrier-free facilities, then the Winter Games brought advocacy of advanced and new ideas or concepts such as the promotion of winter sports, carbon neutrality and a barrier-free "software" environment for the disabled. 

"While many things are still wishes and assumptions, they are very likely to come true or become normal in our everyday lives by 2035," Wu said.