Teammate Zhang Jing also contributed to Yan Wengang’s first Podium appearance at the Winter Olympics
When 24-year-old Yan Wengang of Tianjin made history by climbing to the podium in his first Olympic skeleton bobsled event on Feb 11, his friend and teammate Zhang Jing was standing in the stands nearby, applauding and Shouting with emotion.Zhang Jing, 24, is a 2021 graduate student at Tianjin Institute of Sport. Three and a half years ago, he joined the National Steel-frame snow team to prepare for the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympic Games with the opportunity of cross-sport selection.Because there was no track in China and no training conditions, Zhang Went overseas for many times in the past four years to train. Unfortunately, he was unable to participate in the Beijing Winter Olympic Games due to insufficient points.He didn’t think he’d make it to the Olympics, but the team asked him if he’d like to try out for the Olympic skeleton bobsled.Zhang Jing did not think about it, he agreed to come down, also let him round the dream of participating in the Winter Olympics.Before the Start of the Winter Olympics, many people might have been confused between bobsleigh, bobsleigh and skeleton bobsleigh.When people first see a steel-frame snowmobile race, they gasp: This sport really takes some guts!It is not an exaggeration to call steel bobsled a sport for the brave.By running and jumping, the skier slides down the track with his stomach down and his head forward, controlling the skis’ Angle and trajectory only with slight shoulder and hip pressure.Theoretically, the speed of steel frame snowmobile can reach more than 130 km/h in sliding, and some people call steel frame snowmobile “flying close to the ground”.Because of its speed and lack of protection other than a helmet, a small object the size of a marble can affect a snowmobile at high speed, affecting the safety of an athlete.In order to avoid unnecessary risks, test riders become a necessary part of the competition.Take the National Bobsled Center “Snow Dragon” track for example, the track length of 1975 meters, a total of 16 turns.The Olympic skeleton bobsled competition consists of four slides, and as many as eight trials are scheduled before each run.The steel sled is very fast, and the trial is not only to ensure that the track and ice are ready, but also to check the timing system, lighting and relay system.In addition, the testers also test the track in advance for the athletes in the official race.Some people may think that the ski trial is not an official competition, lying on the sled to slide down?This is not the case. The steel bobsledders have to endure four to five g-forces when they turn. They also have to endure vibrations from the track.Zhang skated eight times in three days, at one point reaching a top speed of 120 km/h, and was black and blue when he took off his clothes.Back in 2018, Zhang Jing, who was admitted to Tianjin Institute of Physical Education from Shandong Province, was called to his office by coach Zhao Chunying and told him that the General Administration of Sport of China proposed to launch a cross-sport selection policy for the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics. He asked if he was interested.Zhang Jing did not think, immediately agreed to come down.The 2008 Beijing Olympic Games was held successfully. At the age of 10, Zhang Saw the athletes fighting for glory for the country on TV for the first time. From then on, he buried a wish in his young heart that he could one day win glory for the country like these athletes.At the beginning, he chose men’s 100-meter sprint in track and field. Although his performance was good, he still had a long way to go to join the national team. He thought it would be difficult to realize his dream in this life, but his fate changed because of the cross-sport selection policy.At that time, there was no track in China, so Zhang and the other players had to do the simulation on the flat ground, followed by hard training and rounds of elimination in the team. Finally, Zhang succeeded in joining the national team and went abroad for training and competition.Zhang Jing, a young man with zero foundation on ice, polished his skating skills over and over again, and rolled to the track again and again, with a slight fall and a severe concussion. At the beginning of the period, he was often hurt with old and new injuries. It was difficult to get up the next day after the first day of practice, but he persevered with his teeth.In 2019, Zhang Finished third in the men’s division of the North America Cup in Park City, just over a year after the tianjin college student started using steel bobsled.In January 2022, Yan Wengang and Yin Zheng won the “four out of two” competition and qualified for the Chinese team, while Zhang Jing failed due to lack of points.Despite not being able to compete as an athlete, Zhang is still happy to be a test skater at the Winter Olympics.”At the end of the award ceremony, I specially ran to the podium and took a photo with Yan Wengang. I was really happy for him to win glory for the country and for Tianjin.But my Olympic dream is not over yet. The German gold and silver medalists are all in their 30s. I am 24 years old, so there is still time and opportunity.I will practice hard and hope that in the next Winter Olympics, I can win glory for my country and stand on the podium in the Olympics.”Zhang said.