Female Chinese Speed Skater Quietly Starts Her Own Business

January 29, 2015
Editor: Kiki Liu

Wang Meng celebrates her victory in a competition about short track speed skating in 2013. [Xinhua]

Wang Meng, a celebrated Chinese speed skater and Winter Olympic champion, quietly began her career in sports business in her hometown of Qitaihe, located in northeast China's Heilongjiang Province, in June 2014 despite still being actively involved in Chinese speed skating.

Establishing a sports industry company in her own name at the end of June of last year, Wang started her undertaking with an investment of 80 million yuan (U.S. $12.9 million). Setting a fine example for sports figures everywhere, whether retired or semi-retired — or not at all, in her case — Wang underwent the transition from female athlete to young entrepreneur without a hitch.

The speed skater expressed that she learned a lot from her recent start-up experience, which proved to be quite different from all her previous experiences of sport and training. Wang indicated that her newly sprung career has reshaped her character and cultivated her mind.

"You could call me 'young pioneer,'" said Wang playfully while appearing in public on January 22, 2015.

"Before, I only had one ultimate goal: to strive to be a world champion in short track speed skating and contribute more to my country. Now, the situation is really different. I need to do more to make profits, because I am the employer with many employees to support. Most people can afford to take a moment, sit around and do nothing. But for me, if I do nothing, I feel like I have committed a crime," said Wang.

Having suffered a serious injury during her regular training, Wang missed the chance to participate in the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi. Therefore, while beginning her entrepreneurial work in Heilongjiang Province last June, Wang decided to pursue further studies, enrolling in an MBA program at Renmin University of China (RBS), a top university whose business school was China's first to offer an MBA program and which is renowned as a cradle of business education in Beijing. Constantly jumping back and forth between Beijing and Heilongjiang, the short track speed skater had created quite a lifestyle for herself — one which she admits she enjoyed quite a bit.

"It had a perpetual sports industry headache when I started the project back in June. Numerous troubles beyond my expectations nearly pushed me to give up. What perhaps took the biggest toll on me was that whenever I would send sports materials to the upper branches in charge of sports affairs for further confirmation or would hold trade talks with other agents, I would suffer setbacks," explained Wang.

"In the past, I would always look down upon others just because I am a world champion. But now, I have been brought right back to being a normal person, like everyone else, and I find that there are many master hands in social circles, who I need to respect and admire. That's been my mental change, going from a top-level athlete to a normal woman."

An advertising brand that stamped Wang's image on their campaign in September 2014 to promote more active participation in short track speed skating inspired Wang, attuning her to the fact that celebrated figures could play a big role in helping benefit sports organizations — such as her own. Her involvement in the campaign inspired her to keep a firm belief in herself as well as a tough and unyielding spirit to continue her entrepreneurship.

"I will insist on continuing to promote my sport and its industry going forward, whether it is promising or not, and I hope that I can set a fine example for our future retired athletes. If things go smoothly with my business, I expect that I could provide even more full-time employment opportunities," said Wang.

(Source: sports.163.com/Translated and edited by Women of China)

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