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Li Lingwei outside the IOC HQ hotel.
IOC member Li Lingwei of China congratulates Russia, Sochi

21 Feb 2014
Sochi, Russia: For China’s relatively new IOC member, Li Lingwei, who was elected in 2012, the Sochi Games have been her first experience of the Winter Olympics – and they definitely won’t be her last. Li, a former badminton star who was named in China’s Top 10 Athletes of the Year on four occasions, arrived in Sochi in time for the IOC Session from February 5-7 and now, with the end of the Games in sight, said she would find it hard to leave.

“I came here on February 2 and the time flies by,” she said, in the IOC HQ hotel on Friday afternoon. “This is my first time to attend the Olympic Winter Games so before I came here I really had very high expectations and I was really looking forward to these Games – not only the IOC Session but also the Games.

“So far, for me, I have really enjoyed the Games, not only the sports on the course but also the venues, the nice weather, the good atmosphere and nice service, everything. “Now I wish I could stay longer and be able to have the same feeling. I am really reluctant to say goodbye to Sochi and to the Games. Congratulations to Russia and to Sochi and to the organizing committee.”

By attending the events, Li said, it has given her a greater appreciation of the athletes and their sports as opposed to watching the action on TV. “You get the maximum understanding of the sport and a greater feeling,” she added.

Regarding the performance of the China team, Li said it could not be compared with China’s power at the Summer Olympics and more needed to be done to develop winter sports so their athletes can improve and catch up with the winter sports powers, especially in snow events.

“We are trying to learn and improve in winter sports and I believe China will gradually improve their performance at the Winter Olympics, especially now that Beijing is bidding for the 2022 Winter Olympics. This will help to promote and develop winter sports in China," she said. “China’s bid is good for winter sports, good for the Olympic Movement and for promoting winter sports in China.”
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