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Exclusive Interview: A Matured Yao Jinnan, Battling Against Injury, Racing Against Time

There have been speculations on whether Yao Jinnan, the current leader of the Chinese Women’s Artistic Gymnastics Team, can make it to t...

There have been speculations on whether Yao Jinnan, the current leader of the Chinese Women’s Artistic Gymnastics Team, can make it to the Olympics given her current status. No one can answer this except time. 

Our new friend, Chinese Gymnastics Insider Bless the Budding Flowers of Chinese Gymnastics recently chatted with Yao Jinnan. We now know that as of now, no routine of Yao has been completed. Yao’s condition has been inconsistent. Yao is still feeling pain here and there. She practices bars when her legs hurt and practices somersaults when her hands hurt. Whether or not will Yao compete all-around and resume her previous difficulty level will depend on these few months’ work.

Yet she also mentioned that Yao has been formulating her complete routines half a month before competition, and that did not affect her results. Therefore, maybe we do not have to worry that much!

World of Gymnastika had asked Yao Jinnan some questions. We see the mature side of Yao Jinnan as she briefed us through her team and herself:

Valerie: How do you feel about the training atmosphere? Has everybody started gearing up?

Jinnan: It is not too far away from the internal tests and competitions, the first internal test one is just five weeks away. Everyone is trying to perfect their routines. We all are enthusiastic to prepare for the Olympics. Many routines are ready and more difficult than before, but my routines take longer time to work out. I am gradually narrowing the gap between everybody and myself, and I am striving to recover faster. 

Valerie: How is the current Chinese Women’s Team different from the 2012 Olympic Team?

Jinnan: In fact, the most different thing is that I become the leader. I was being led by the older girls before, and now I am leading the younger girls. We have the same goals as the 2012 Team, we are working hard and fighting for Olympic glory. Otherwise things are quite similar.

Valerie: Four years ago you were still the baby of the team, but now you are already the leader. How has that changed you?

Jinnan: I feel that now I do not just manage myself well, but I have to watch the young girls too. Older girls like me and the coaches feel that the young girls perform quite differently in competitions than in training, and that is pretty much psychological. Now I will share with them my competition experiences during training, and encourage them during training. It is essential to make them feel more secure psychologically. 

Valerie: How will you prepare yourselves this Olympic Year?

Jinnan: Firstly, I must get my complete routines ready, and condition myself to the best form to face the endless tests and competitions. Stress is something that comes with it, but I will try to adjust my mentality.

Valerie: Many fans hope that you and the Chinese Team will perform well in the Olympics. What will you say to them?

Jinnan: I often watch the blessings and encouragements from gymnastics fans online. I feel empowered every time I watch these. All these good words give me huge motivation during training, so I would like to say a big Thank You to you all. I know that you all look forward to the competitions, and so I will try my best to deliver the best side of mine to you all.

Special Thanks to Bless the Budding Flowers of Chinese Gymnastics for contacting Yao Jinnan and taking photos of her training session for us.

Interview by Valerie Theodora Ko

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