Exclusive interview with Chinese snowboarder Su Yiming
Chinese snowboarding sensation Su Yiming believes the two Olympic medals he earned at the Beijing Winter Games were the best gifts on his 18th birthday on Friday.
"The gold medal is for sure the best gift for my birthday. The gold and silver medals mean a lot to me. People can see how hard I've been working to achieve them," Su said in an exclusive interview with China Daily in Beijing on Thursday.
"And there are people who stand behind me, who have been supporting, helping and loving me. I have been dreaming about this moment for the past four years, every day and every night. This is a big dream come true. I don't know how to describe this feeling. I never felt that before."
Chinese snowboarder Su Yiming holds the Winter Olympian, the official publication of the Beijing Winter Olympics published by China Daily, in Beijing on Feb 17, 2022. (WANG YUXI / CHINA DAILY)
Su dashed into the history books at the Beijing Games, as he won China's first Olympic gold in the men's snowboard Big Air on Tuesday, after winning a slopestyle silver on Feb 7 at the age of 17. His stellar performance, including the gold-winning back-to-back 1800 tricks, have made him a household name in China.
"This is such an amazing trip and the last two weeks were the craziest in my life for sure. I had a lot of good experiences seeing so many friends, family and fans here. It was definitely the best time ever," Su added.
Su Yiming of China celebates after men's snowboard big air final of Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics at Big Air Shougang in Beijing, capital of China, Feb 15, 2022. (XUE YUGE / XINHUA)
And there are people who stand behind me, who have been supporting, helping and loving me. I have been dreaming about this moment for the past four years, every day and every night. This is a big dream come true. I don't know how to describe this feeling. I never felt that before.
Su Yiming, Chinese snowboarder
The teenager said it is hard for him to pick the most memorable moment throughout the journey as there were many, and the most unforgettable ones were with his renowned Japanese coach Yasuhiro Sato.
"After the first two runs, I knew I had enough points for the gold medal. Right after I knew the score, I started to cry. The last time I cried was like five or six years ago when I was still a kid. I cried with my coach who was talking just next to me. That was one of the special moments," said Su.
He said that before he was 14 years old, snowboarding was just a sport for fun during vacations. But after he knew about the Beijing Winter Games, he realized this could be a life-changing opportunity. He was still part of the TV audience during the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, but he told his parents that one day he wanted to compete at the Olympic Games.
"I told myself that I was going to try to reach the Olympic Games, and I would never give up trying to win medals. The reason why I'm doing all this training, and taking part in competitions and the Olympic Games is because of love. I started to practice snowboarding when I was 4 because my parents both love snowboarding," said Su.
China's Su Yiming competes during the men's snowboard slopestyle qualification at the Genting Snow Park in Zhangjiakou, north China's Hebei province, Feb 6, 2022. (PHOTO / XINHUA)
"I still remember the first time I went to the top of a mountain with my dad. I stood on my snowboard riding down. I told myself this would be my favorite sport for sure."
I told myself that I was going to try to reach the Olympic Games, and I would never give up trying to win medals. The reason why I'm doing all this training, and taking part in competitions and the Olympic Games is because of love. I started to practice snowboarding when I was 4 because my parents both love snowboarding.
Su Yiming, Chinese snowboarder
The first time Su competed at a World Cup was in 2019 when the Shougang Big Air venue hosted its first international event. Su, who was just 15 years old, narrowly failed to qualify for the finals by one spot after finishing 11th overall.
"I still remember three-and-a-half years ago at Shougang, the same place and the same jump, it was my first Big Air World Cup. That was a great contest for me as I had never taken part in a World Cup before," Su recalled.
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"I missed the final by just one spot at that time at 11th place. So from that time, I saw the difference between me and those top riders. That pushed me harder in the past three years.
"I knew I needed to do my best. I knew I was still not as good as those top riders. It was still hard for me to win a competition, but I would never give up in trying to realize my dream. I wanted to have fun during competitions, but I also needed to make my dream come true."
And in just three years and at the same slope, Su won Olympic gold. He told China Daily that competing at Shougang felt more like a show. Every time he went to the top of the slope, he was surprised by the beauty of the venue, which gave him more confidence.
"It's so hard to get two medals. The best riders in the world all came to Beijing, and everyone is doing so good. Snowboarding is just progressing so fast. Getting to the finals is becoming more and more difficult. My strategy was to earn enough points to get into the finals," Su added.
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"We've been working for it for the past four years and we know how hard it is. And others are also becoming good. I appreciate everyone. Some riders have been my idols since I started to practice snowboarding. They are always pushing me, and I always like to follow them."
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