Feb 15 2022, 7:02 a.m. ET
Feb 15 2022, 7:02 a.m. ET Beverly Zhu, who competes for China as Zhu Yi.credit…Doug Mills/The New York Times
Maria Bell was waiting for her turn to ski in Beijing.
She was not selected for the team event, and the US team won the silver medal last week. then Nathan Chen, one of her training partners in California, won the gold medal in the men’s event. For all those performances, she was just a fan in the crowd, cheering for her teammates.
Finally, on Tuesday’s short program, USA Champion Bell got a chance to do what she came for. Natasha McKay from Britain.credit…Chang W. Lee / The New York Times Anastasia Gubanova from Georgia.credit…Chang W. Lee / The New York Times Kailani Crane from Australia.credit…Doug Mills/The New York Times Madeline Chisas from Canada.credit…Doug Mills/The New York Times Maria Bell from the United States.credit…Doug Mills/The New York Times
As she fell on the second jump of her three-set, she quickly prepared herself to float nicely through the rest of her program. For once, she had a cheerful section of her own: a boisterous, albeit small, group of fans at one end of the plaza shouted their name as they slashed off the ice. She scored 65.38 points to end up being the best in her group and second overall.
The last skater in the group was Beverly Chu, a 19-year-old who was born and raised in the United States but skates with China by the name Zhu Yi. It’s hard to imagine how much pressure I felt.
Having fallen into the short program of the team event, the hashtag #ZhuYiFellDown has been viewed more than 200 million times on Weibo, a popular Chinese social media platform, with commentators calling it “rude”, “corrupt” and “embarrassing”. But on Tuesday, fans cheered her up warmly and shouted, “Go!” in Chinese.
On her first jump, she tried the ice with her sled after landing, but was able to get past the rest of her shoes, gaining more confidence as her program began. Most of the crowd applauded and waved Chinese flags afterwards.
Waiting for the result, take a deep breath and sit down completely. To finish the group, she scored 53.44 points, ranking her ninth overall.