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06 June 2024, 11:23

Winter Olympic champion Gu Ailing participates in Paris 2024 torch relay

NANTES, 6 June (BelTA - Xinhua) - Beijing Winter Olympic champion Gu Ailing carried the torch of the Paris Olympic Games in the Loire-Atlantique department of western France on Wednesday, becoming the first active Chinese athlete to take part in the torch relay for Paris 2024.

"I am currently by the Loire River in France, having just completed the torch relay. I am still very excited and very happy to be here as a young athlete to participate in the event," Gu said.

As with every torch relay, this event attracted a large number of local residents who came to cheer on the torchbearers. The freestyle ski world champion said the atmosphere deeply moved her, making her even prouder to be a torchbearer.

"I saw children, elderly people, and even babies in their parents' arms along the road. From them, I could feel their passion for the Olympics and sports. I think this is also part of the Olympic spirit - to attract more people to participate," said the 20-year-old, who claimed two golds and one silver for China at the 2022 Winter Olympic Games in Beijing.

During the torch relay, Gu frequently made a hand gesture representing the number six. She explained to reporters that in Chinese contemporary slang, "six" signifies being awesome. Additionally, the gesture resembles horns, and in Chinese, the character "niu", meaning "cow", also means awesome or impressive.

"I wanted to use this gesture to show that China is awesome, and Chinese athletes are awesome too. I especially hope to see Chinese athletes achieve great results in the upcoming Olympics next month," said Gu. "I will definitely come to Paris to watch the Olympics then."

As a winter sports athlete, Gu would not be drawn on which event she was most looking forward to at the summer Olympics.

"I can't say that. I have many friends competing in the Olympics, and if I mention one and forget another, they might not be happy," Gu joked.

With her semester at Stanford University having ended, Gu revealed that she had flown for more than ten hours to France the day before the torch relay and was completing her final assignments on the plane.

"I have to fly back to the United States tomorrow to continue preparing for my final exams," Gu said. 
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