February 16, 2022
BEIJING – Chinese wonderkid adds gold to silver on sensational Games debut
Snowboarding prodigy Su Yiming etched her name in the history books when she won China’s first Olympic gold medal in the sport on Tuesday to cap off her superb Games debut.
By neatly landing 1,800 consecutive tricks, the teenager snagged the biggest prize so far in his young career – gold in the men’s Big Air at the Beijing Winter Olympics.
The feat fulfilled a childhood dream of reaching the top of the sport, which he began to learn at the age of 4.
Now with two brilliant medals, including a silver in slopestyle, hanging around his neck, the 17-year-old described his superb Olympic debut as an insane experience worth every sacrifice.
“It’s so surreal that I’ve finally achieved what I’ve dreamed of since I was little,” an emotional Su said after finishing his third race as a lap of honour.
Su won the gold medal with a winning total of 182.5 points on her first two jumps.
“When Beijing won the Olympic bid (in 2015), I was still in elementary school, but I promised myself to try and make it to my home Olympics. For a lot of people, it felt like a unrealistic goal.
“Now it has become a reality, and even better, I finished on the top step of the podium. I am so proud of myself and grateful to my coach, to everyone who has supported me throughout my journey and to my country.
Also putting in two excellent runs, Norway’s Mons Roisland finished second, 10.75 points behind Su, while Canadian rider Max Parrot took bronze (170.25 points). Parrot edged Su to gold in last week’s slopestyle.
Parrot is full of praise for Su, who idolized the Canadian veteran when he was younger.
“I’m really happy that I was able to help him achieve his goals and I told him he had to push me to be a better snowboarder as well,” said five-time Big Air World Cup winner Parrot.
“I think my goal and also the goals of most riders is to promote our sport and give our love for our sport to anyone else and I hope other younger snowboarders will come to the board soon. the world.”
Over the past four years, Su has combined his innate talent with hard work – under the guidance of renowned Japanese coach Yasuhiro Sato – to produce one of the fastest rises the sport has ever seen.
When the Shougang Big Air venue hosted its first international event – a World Cup competition in 2019 – Su was an obscure qualifier, who didn’t even make the final races.
Just over two years later, Su is the name on everyone’s lips in the venue’s Olympic debut, bringing the nation’s attention to the sport he loves.
“The biggest motivation for me is my love for snowboarding,” Su said when asked about the secret to his success. “In snowboarding, I feel like I can demonstrate my own style and creativity. Every time I ride my board, it’s always a happy moment. I hope that through my experience, I can inspire more young people to take an interest in sport.
Su’s golden day matched fellow teenage skier Gu Ailing, who also won gold in the freeskiing equivalent of Big Air on Feb. 8 on the towering slope built on the former site of a relocated steel mill .
Boasting multi-medal performances at the Games, the two young athletes have become celebrities in the country while attracting hordes of new fans on social media.
Su, a former child actor who starred in action films, said Olympic gold would encourage him to seek further breakthroughs even beyond his sports career.
“I love snowboarding as much as I love playing,” said Su, who turns 18 on Friday.
“I think I still have a lot of possibilities to explore in my future career, whether in snowboarding or as an actor. But now I just want to enjoy the moment and celebrate it as the best birthday present possible. .