China’s ‘father of skiing’ hopes games will attract more ordinary folks to the sport

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FILE PHOTO: Shan Zhaojian, 84, nicknamed China's "father of skiing", poses for a picture at the Yunju ski resort in Beijing, China, December 29, 2021. Picture taken December 29, 2021

FILE PHOTO: Shan Zhaojian, 84, nicknamed China’s “father of skiing”, poses for a picture at the Yunju ski resort in Beijing, China, December 29, 2021. Picture taken December 29, 2021 REUTERS/Thomas Peter

BEIJING—Shan Zhaojian stretches his arms and legs to warm up as the 83-year-old prepares to ski down a mountain just outside China’s capital of Beijing.

The bespectacled skier is technically retired, but thanks to his nickname as China’s “father of skiing,” he has been a prominent icon in the country’s campaign to encourage an interest in winter sports as it gears up to host the Winter Olympics from Feb. 4-20.

Shan has become a well-known advocate for the sport in the country in the decades since he was China’s first national skiing champion in 1957.

“At that time, we had no such things as ski outfits and had no idea that there were such a thing as…

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