BEIJING (Reuters) – The Chinese delegation’s flag-bearers at the opening ceremony of the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics will be speed skater Gao Tingyu and skeleton athlete Zhao Dan, the delegation said on Sunday.
The 24-year-old Gao became China’s first male speed skater to win a medal at the Winter Olympics when he took the bronze in the men’s 500 metres competition at the 2018 event in South Korea.
Born in the northern province of Heilongjiang, he joined the national speed skating team in 2016, the Beijing 2022 organising committee said in a statement.
Skeleton athlete Zhao, 19, placed seventh at the 2020 Youth Olympic Games in Switzerland, where she represented China for the first time. Born in Inner Mongolia, the former long-jumper joined the national team in 2018.
“I think my background helps me a lot, because long jumping and skeleton have common elements, such as explosive power and sprinting,” she said in a video on the website of the International Olympic Committee.
The Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics will be Gao’s second, said the state news agency, Xinhua, citing an official of the Chinese delegation who also hailed the teenage Zhao as “a rising young star”.
(This story was refiled to correct headline verb to “names”, instead of “elects”.)
(Reporting by Emily Chow; Editing by Clarence Fernandez)