BEIJING: China’s US-born figure skater Zhu Yi came back with a smile on Tuesday after her earlier flop on the Olympic ice, earning rousing applause from the hometown crowd at the Beijing Games, even though she was unlikely to qualify for the free skate.
Skating to The Rolling Stones’ Paint It Black, the same routine she tumbled in during last week’s team event, Zhu botched her landing in her opening triple flip-triple toeloop jump on Feb 15 but at least she did not fall, and later completed a triple loop well, earning 53.44.
“I guess it was a little bit of a redemption,” Zhu said after the skate. “I think I skated much better than the team event. I feel more at ease and try to enjoy the game, that's why I smiled.”
After her error-filled performance knocked China to fifth place from third in the Beijing Games’ team event, Zhu became the target of online criticism about her performance, as well as for being selected over another Chinese skater.
“The first couple of days were really hard for me, but after that, I was able to recover and just do better,” she said.
“And even though there were some mistakes, I’m still happy with how it went for my first Olympic experience.
“I also reminded myself that the fact that I'm here right now, it’s already once in a lifetime experience, I need to experience it as much as I can,” she said.
Chinese spectators at the Capital Indoor Stadium cheered and applauded after she managed to stay standing following her opening combination jump, a move that sent her crashing into the wall last week. “It’s just very comforting and it’s like a big hug and I’m very grateful for them,” Zhu said.
Chinese social media Weibo seemed to have responded to her latest performance with more sympathy than last time.
“It’s amazing how she overcome all the mental pressure. Don’t lose faith in yourself over one Olympics!”
Others were less charitable:
“Well, at least she didn’t cry this time. Let’s be honest this is about China’s level in women figure skating these days,” one user wrote. – Reuters