China’s young athletes rise to stardom at Gangwon 2024

February 1, 2024
Updated 2024/02/01 at 7:37 PM
4 Min Read
(240125) -- BEIJING, Jan. 25, 2024 (Xinhua) -- Yang Jingru, Li Jinzi, Zhang Xinzhe and Zhang Bohao (from R to L) of team China celebrate after winning the mixed team relay final A of short track speed skating event at the Gangwon 2024 Winter Youth Olympic Games in Gangneung, South Korea, Jan. 24, 2024. (Xinhua/Xu Yanan)

GANGNEUNG, South Korea (Xinhua) — More than a few young athletes have risen to stardom after demonstrating their great potential as prodigies at the 2024 Gangwon Winter Youth Olympic Games for the past two weeks.

Among the new rising stars is China’s short track speed skater Yang Jingru who claimed gold medals in the women’s 1,500m and mixed relay as well as a silver in the women’s 1,000m.

The 17-year-old has shown great individual strength and tactical execution in the women’s 1,500m race, where she used the “rabbit tactic.”

Under the tactic, Yang accelerated first in less than half a lap of the start and overtook all other competitors along the way, before cooperating with her teammates to win the first gold medal of the Chinese delegation.

Angel Daleman competes during the women’s 500m speed skating final at Gangwon 2024 in Gangneung, Jan. 22, 2024. (Xinhua/Yao Qilin)

Angel Daleman of the Netherlands finished on the podium in all four-speed skating events, with three golds in the women’s 500m, 1,500m, and mass start, in addition to a bronze in the mixed relay.

The 16-year-old is also a rare skater doubling up across the two disciplines as she secured silver in the short track speed skating 1,500m at the World Junior Championships in early 2022 and won four individual and two relay golds at the speed skating junior world championships in 2023.

Japan’s Mao Shimada is a rising star in the women’s singles figure skating as she took the title with an overwhelming performance.

Shimada, who ranked first in the short program, finished first with a free skate of 125.94 points for a total of 196.99 points, more than five points ahead of the silver medalist.

The Japanese figure skater also snatched the women’s singles championship in the youth category of the 2022 and 2023 World Figure Skating Grand Prix Finals and the women’s singles title at the 2023 World Junior Championships.

Flora Tabanelli competes during the women’s big air at Gangwon 2024 in Hoengseong, Jan. 28, 2024. (Xinhua/Hu Huhu)

Italy’s freestyle skier Flora Tabanelli took two golds in the women’s slopestyle and big air, following in the footsteps of China’s Eileen Gu, who clinched two golds in big air and halfpipe as well as a slopestyle silver at the 2020 Winter Youth Olympics, before claiming those titles at the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympic Games.

Zak Carrick-Smith set a historic milestone for Britain by offering the first-ever gold medal in an alpine skiing Olympic event for his home country.

After winning the men’s combined title, Carrick-Smith went on to rack up the men’s giant slalom silver and a second gold in the men’s slalom event at this Youth Olympics.

Lee Cha-eun of hosts South Korea became the double gold medalist in the men’s snowboard halfpipe and slopestyle events. The 17-year-old is a reigning halfpipe world champion who showed greater form than his competitors in front of home crowds.

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