Gu Ailing, Su Yiming show musical talents at China Ice and Snow Night Gala

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Gu Ailing, Su Yiming show musical talents at China Ice and Snow Night Gala
Gu Ailing (center) plays during the China Ice and Snow Night Gala, April 16, 2022. [Photo by Song Yanhua/Xinhua Photo]

Gu Ailing is well known as an Olympic champion. So is Su Yiming. But they showed their talents beyond sports on Saturday at the China Ice and Snow Night Gala, an event held to pay tribute to the people who contributed to the 2022 Winter Olympics.

Gu put on a show by playing renowned French pianist Richard Claydermans's Souvenirs d'enfance on the piano.

"Skiing is the source of most of my confidence," said the 18-year-old.

"At eight years old, when I began to learn skiing, I was the only girl in the team. I found friendship and confidence through skiing. My goal is letting more Chinese teenagers step out of their comfort zones and become better people through sports," she added.

Gu, who became the first freestyle skier to win three medals at a single Winter Olympics, caused a huge sensation at Beijing 2022, and is said to have inspired millions of young people to take up skiing.

Su Yiming, disguised as a guitar player, played the Chinese song "Chengdu" to his Japanese coach Yasuhiro Sato through an online video chat.

"I wanted to surprise him in a different way. He loved this song very much," said Su, who clinched a silver in slopestyle and gold in Big Air at Beijing 2022. The 18-year-old said Sato had had a "life-changing" influence on him.

"He changed my understanding of snowboarding in a much deeper way. I was very lucky to know him as soon as I decided to go professional," Su said.

Sato became Su's coach when the Chinese was 14 years old. In less than four years, the master and his student worked together to make history.

"He is very smart, focusing on what he is doing. He knows how to deal with people, and how to grow up by himself," Sato said of his protege.

The gala also honored those who have made outstanding contributions to the Winter Games behind the scenes, including medical teams, food and catering service teams, volunteers and engineers. 

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