American curlers Chris Plys (left) and Victoria Persinger (right) receive gifts from their Chinese rivals Ling Zhi and Fan Suyuan on February 5 in Beijing. Photo: IC
The sporting spirit has been in full swing as American curlers Chris Plys and Victoria Persinger gave badges in return on Sunday after receiving a memorial gift – pin badges from Beijing Winter Olympics mascot Bing Dwen Dwen – from their Chinese rivals, who won heartfelt praise from network users and media worldwide about friendship among athletes.
The American mixed double curlers defeated the Chinese team Ling Zhi and Fan Suyuan at the National Aquatic Center, also known as the Ice Cube, which was reconstructed from the famous Water Cube, Saturday, a day after the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing started with a magnificent and beautiful ceremony.
The American curlers received the gifts from their Chinese colleagues after the fight. The four competitors posed together while showing the pin sets. The American duo showed off the needle sets on Twitter on Saturday, saying they were “honored to receive these beautiful Beijing 2022 needle sets in a wonderful display of sportsmanship by our Chinese colleagues.”
According to media reports, the Chinese team wished their American opponents good luck during the next round of matches and highly praised their achievements, giving them the two sets of Bing Dwen Dwen pin badges as gifts.
Plush and Persinger were overwhelmed by the surprising gifts and said the gesture was “so cool.”
“The needles are beautiful and so special. We will remember this forever,” Persinger said.
Ling told the media on Sunday that the Chinese duo also received gifts from American rivals in the locker room after the fights, saying curling is a social sporting event and athletes maintain good relationships.
The touching moment also caught the attention of NHK, who reported that exchanges of friendship also took place between the American and Chinese teams at the curling match despite the political tensions between the two countries.
The Japanese media commented that with a serious game on the ice, the relationship between the two countries’ players became closer.
The exchange between the competitors from the two countries also touched many foreign network users, who left messages on the US duo’s mail.
“That’s what Sport is all about, the competition is fair, but friendships are made. Wonderful!” said a network user named Allan Featherstone.
Another web user left a message in both English and Chinese stating “Friendship first, competition next.”
Ling told the media on Sunday that the Chinese duo also received gifts from American curlers in the locker room after the fights on Saturday, saying curling is a social sport and athletes maintain good relationships.