One of sport’s towering winning streaks ended Monday night, when gold medals were awarded in Olympic pairs skating and not placed around the necks of a couple from the former Soviet Union or Russia.
The Chinese victory was seen by many as a democratizing milestone. Debi Thomas, who won a bronze medal in women’s skating at the 1988 Winter Games in Calgary and is now an orthopedic surgeon, said, “Given that I’m a Chicago Cubs fan, there’s hope.”
Ingo Steuer, coach of the German bronze medalists and the winner of a similar medal competing in pairs at the 1998 Winter Games in Nagano, Japan, said, “It’s good for the sport to see someone else on the list.”
Well, it certainly makes the sport more interesting to watch. However, it’s a little hard to stomach the words ‘China’ and ‘democratizing’ in same sentence, even if it’s just their figure skaters (examples: here, here, here, here, here, here).
Is the Chinese gold a victory for competition and a better sporting experience? Absolutely. Is it democratizing? You decide.