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Olympia 2022: Flying Panda – In express speed to the ski jumper

Ski jumper Son Qiwu touched snow for the first time three years ago. After his Olympic debut, China’s best aviator wants to get to the top.

Snow? Sure, says Song Qiwu, he had seen it before he decided to become a ski jumper. However, only on television, because Song comes from the southern Chinese province of Szechuan, where the panda lives in the warm hills.

The first physical encounters with the strange white underground, which were barely three years ago, did not necessarily mean that a later love relationship could be expected.

“I started jumping from a four-meter-high hill and I was terrified,” says Song. “My only thought was not to lose my hands and feet. I just wanted to survive.”

Well, the now 20-year-old survived and became an Olympic athlete. Of course, Song is not yet a hit: In the normal hill qualifier he was the last to drop out after an eddy-the-eagle 61.5 m hop, even with China’s mixed team it wasn’t about survival on Monday, but at least it was just to be there.

Song Qiwu holds the Chinese record

Although that’s also remarkable, China has stomped its jump team out of thin air within a few years. Partly European specialists cast raw talents in other sports, Song, for example, discovered Finland’s master coach Mika Kojonkoski in the hurdle sprint. The inexperienced youngsters were finally introduced to large ski jumps in Europe.

“Purely physically, some have what it takes to become number one,” said Norway’s ski jumping boss Clas Brede Brathen. But: “You have to ski jump properly first.”

In any case, Song is convinced that after his Olympic premiere he can make the step into the top league of the Kobayashis or Geigers. “My goal is to reach the highest possible level,” says Song, who holds the Chinese record at 141.5 m.

On the way there, Song is guided by his old idol from his athletics days: “I want to achieve with my feet what Su Bingtian achieved with his.” Well then: Sprinter Su was sensational in the 2021 Olympic 100m final in Tokyo.

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