Fu Chunyan: A Tumble for Gold

March 16, 2009
Editor: zhuhong

Chinese skater Fu Chunyan outstrips all competitors to grab gold in the women's 3,000m speed skating event. (Xinhua photo)

Fu Chunyan was probably more surprised than anyone at winning China’s first gold medal on February 21 in the women's 3,000 meter speed skating event at the Harbin Universiade. She scored this victory in a personal best time of four minutes 15.73 seconds, a truly amazing feat for an athlete competing in her first major international event.

"I am so thrilled!" the 22-year-old champion happily told the press conference after the race, "I didn't think for a minute I'd win a gold!"

Fu, from Qiqihaer, Heilongjiang Province, became the youngest member of the national speed skating team last year. Her petite stature belies the strength and endurance that helped her excel in the 3,000m and 5,000m speed skating events.

It was these attributes that won Fu this unexpected victory. She maintained a good lead on all other competitors for seven and a half circuits, and was almost half a lap ahead of her nearest rival. She fell to her knees after an exhausting finishing sprint in the final lap in a win the media called, "a tumble for gold."

"My coach has helped me a lot with my staying power, and we've only just started. I think she and I can achieve a lot more." Fu said of Sijtle van der Lende, the Dutch coach to the Chinese national team since mid-2008.

Fu was downbeat when asked about her future plans: "My career has just begun. But my next main task is to prepare for the upcoming Winter Olympics!"

Fu Chunyan Profile:

Born: 1987
Place of Birth: Qiqihaer, Heilongjiang Province
Height: 162cm
Weight: 58.5 kg
Event: Speed Skating

(Source, Xinhua News and YNET.com / Translated by womenofchina.cn)

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