US leg­end sees ‘surge of Chi­nese cham­pi­ons’

Global Times - - SPORTS -

Fig­ure skat­ing leg­end Michelle Kwan said Thurs­day she an­tic­i­pates “a surge of fu­ture cham­pi­ons” from China and be­lieves the hosts are poised to take the Bei­jing 2022 Olympics by storm.

The five-time world cham­pion from the US was speak­ing dur­ing a visit to Shang­hai, where she saw first­hand how China is throw­ing re­sources and its con­sid­er­able man­power at the next Win­ter Games.

The 38-year-old, con­sid­ered one of the finest skaters of all time, said, “I thought it was amaz­ing be­cause what I wit­nessed was 5-year-olds, their fifth-time skat­ing and they’re ag­ile and learn­ing.

“It was such an op­por­tu­nity to see a fu­ture Olympic cham­pion or the next gen­er­a­tion of ath­letes.”

Kwan said that she saw Chi­nese chil­dren who were ahead of her when she was an as­pir­ing skater of a sim­i­lar age.

“What I wit­nessed two days ago was this surge of fu­ture cham­pi­ons,” the for­mer nine­time US cham­pion said, adding that the US could learn from China.

Kwan said she is open to the pos­si­bil­ity of help­ing China in the build-up to Bei­jing 2022.

China won just one gold medal at the Pyeongchang Win­ter Olympics this year, and has been em­ploy­ing a grow­ing num­ber of for­eign coaches.

Kwan, born in Cal­i­for­nia to par­ents from Hong Kong, China said she had held “one­off con­ver­sa­tions” about play­ing a role.

“I’m al­ways up for help­ing young as­pir­ing ath­letes,” said the two-time Olympic medal­ist.

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