China makes historic breakthrough in winter sports at Vancouver Olympics

09:50, March 01, 2010      

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Following consecutive two-gold finish in both Salt Lake City and Turin, China made historic breakthrough in winter sports as it claimed five titles plus two silvers and four bronzes at the Vancouver Games which concluded all competitions here on Sunday.

"We have made important breakthrough at these Games," said Xiao Tian, deputy chef de mission of the largest ever Chinese Winter Sports Delegation in history.

Having sent a total of 90 athletes to the Games, China shared a seventh place at the medal tally with Sweden while tying its own 11-medal performance in Turin four years ago.

And its record medals also marked the first top-eight finish for the summer sports powerhouse in the Winter Olympics.

"Actually the five-gold finish was within my expectation before we set off for the Games, but I couldn't say that at that time because I would not want to put any pressure on the athletes," Xiao added. "Now I can speak out."

While Xiao admitted he had not expected the Chinese clean sweep in four women's short track speed skating events where Wang Meng became the first Chinese skater to win three golds at one single Winter Games.

"That was amazing," Xiao said. "The Chinese women's relay team impressed me most by taking their first gold in this event after so many years' hard work."

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