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Guo Dan's 6-year journey from wheels to skates

2021-03-31 10:31:00 Xinhuanet

HARBIN, March 31 (Xinhua) -- As a roller-skater, China's Guo Dan had some regrets, but more pride, after she decided to become a speed skater six years ago.

On Tuesday, Guo finished second in the women's mass start at the 2020-2021 China Speed Skating Championship in Harbin, China.

"It is disappointing because this is not my real strength," said the skater from Jiangsu Province, who also won the silver medal at National Speed Skating Championships a week ago.

At the end of last year, Guo conducted systematic training in the Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region to prepare for the National Winter Games. She felt she was in very good condition at the time.

However, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the National Winter Games was canceled and Guo had a long holiday during the Spring Festival.

"The tournament and championship started suddenly. I only practiced for two days before the game." Due to insufficient preparation, Guo wasn't in the best shape for the match.

In fact, Guo's regrets do not stop there.

"I wish I had practiced skating earlier."

Before 2015, Guo was still one of the top three roller skaters in the world and won the roller skating World Championships and World Cup. After being injured in the competition at the end of 2014, she had the idea of switching to speed skating.

"At that time, Beijing won the bid for the Winter Olympic Games. I think this is a good opportunity to encourage more roller skaters to try skating." But as "the first person to try tomato", Guo encountered many difficulties after switching to speed skating.

As a successful roller skater, switching to speed skating means giving up everything and starting from scratch. Guo needs to prepare herself psychologically first.

"On the one hand, even if I won more world championships in roller skating, it would be the same to me; on the other hand, I was 25 years old when I switched to speed skating and I had never been in skating," Guo said.

In the 2018 PyeongChang Winter Olympics speed skating women's mass start competition, Guo finally ranked tenth overall. "Being able to stand on the Olympic stage has already realized the dream, and the significance is more important than the result," Guo said after the game.

But in fact, Guo is still unwilling. "After the PyeongChang Winter Olympics, I have been insisting all these years. I want to try my best for the Beijing Winter Olympics." But at the end of December 2019, Guo broke her left ankle while training abroad.

"I returned to China after the operation. At that time, I thought it would be great to be back on the court." Until now, there are still steel nails and steel plates on her feet, but through training, she recovered to a better physical condition by the end of 2020.

"If I practice speed skating earlier, maybe my performance will be better these years, and it will affect more people," Guo said that her experience may not encourage many athletes to change their sports in a short period of time, but it can help more people see the possibility.

The girl said that roller skating athletes are not as valued as other traditional Olympic athletes in China. "But through my experience, more people can see that roller skating athletes can also stand on the Olympic stadium, which can not only promote the development of roller skating but also reserve more talents for ice and snow sports," Guo said.

In the past six years, Guo has seen that roller skating has received more attention in China, and she is also very proud because her persistence has encouraged some athletes who want to retire. "I did not retire after being injured, so many athletes see that there is nothing impossible. As long as you want to achieve the goal, you can start from the beginning," she said.

"I just hope to be able to stand on the Beijing Winter Olympics. I am in a better state than I was before the PyeongChang Winter Olympics, and I have greater desires," Guo said. Enditem

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