徐诗晓(左)和孙梦雅(右)获得东京奥运会女子500米双人划艇金牌 中国日报/受访者供图

When Xu Shixiao went to work as usual in a furniture company in Nanchang, Jiangxi province, five years ago, she was surprised to get a call from her former coach, inquiring about her willingness to return to canoeing and compete in the Tokyo Olympic Games. Xu quickly made her decision.
五年前,在江西南昌一家家具公司工作的徐诗晓,像往常一样上班时意外接到了前教练的电话,询问她是否有意愿重返皮划艇赛场,参加东京奥运会。很快,徐诗晓就做出了决定。


"I quit my job as a human resources manager, informed my family and went back to training three days later. There was not much time left for me to prepare for the Olympics," Xu recalls.
她回忆说:“我辞掉人事经理的工作,告诉了家人我的决定,在三天后就开始重新训练。留给我备战奥运的时间不多了。”


On Aug 7, Xu and her partner, Sun Mengya, won gold in the first women's canoe double 500m event at the Tokyo Games. It was also the first Olympic gold medal for China in the event.
8月7日,徐诗晓和搭档孙梦雅获得东京奥运会女子500米双人划艇金牌,这也是中国首次在该项目上获得奥运金牌。


Yet Xu's journey to the Olympics was bumpy-she faced lots of difficulties, such as her physical condition after years of retirement and her parents' opposition because they thought it was time for her to get married.
徐诗晓的奥运之路并非一帆风顺,而是困难重重:退役多年,她的身体状况不及从前;因为觉得她到了结婚的年龄了,父母也不支持她重返赛场。


"It was really a hard decision for me to go back to being an athlete after four years of retirement," says Xu.
徐诗晓说:“退役四年后再恢复运动员的身份对我来说是蛮难的。”


"I didn't want to regret not competing for a gold medal. I desired to be a champion. I had nothing to lose even if I failed."
“我不想因为放弃争夺奥运金牌而后悔。我想当冠军。就算失败了,我也没什么可失去的。”


To catch the opportunity to go back to canoeing on the international level, Xu started her training-"as cruel as hell". She began her daily exercises early morning and ended at 10:30 pm.
为了抓住在国际赛场上竞技划艇的机会,徐诗晓开始了地狱般的训练。她一大早就开始日常训练,一直练到晚上十点半。


Every day, she would set several detailed goals for her training, such as how high the heart rate should be when paddling a canoe and how long it should take her for 500-meter paddling.
每天,她都会设定一些具体的训练目标,比如划桨的时候心率要控制在多高、划艇500米要在多长时间以内等等。


"Only when I reached all my daily goals, I would go ashore," Xu says.
徐诗晓说:“每天只有达到设定的目标后,我才会上岸。”


It was a hot July in 2017 in Nanchang, where temperatures can reach 40 C in summer. Xu exposed herself to the scorching sun for hours every day, kneeling on her canoe. Her skin was sunburned. Blisters formed, crusted over, healed and broke out again. But her daily regimen was hardly affected.
2017年7月,南昌天气炎热,温度直逼40℃。徐诗晓跪在皮划艇上,每天在大太阳下一练就是好几个小时。皮肤都被晒伤了,手上也起了水泡,结成皮痂,好了又破,反反复复。但她依旧每天都在坚持。


"At the beginning, it really hurt. When the pain reached a peak, I couldn't feel my arms and finally became numb," she adds.
“最开始的时候,真的很疼。最疼的时候,我都感觉不到胳膊的存在了,最后就麻木了。”


The more than two months of grueling training finally paid off. Xu won two gold medals at the 13th National Games in two women's canoe events, which meant she would be part of the national team to compete in the Canoe Sprint World Championships by the International Canoe Federation-for qualification to the Tokyo Olympic Games.
超两个多月的魔鬼训练终究换来了回报。在第十三届全国运动会上,徐诗晓夺得两枚女子划艇金牌,并由此成功入选国家队,代表中国参加国际皮划艇联合会举办的世界皮划艇锦标赛, 争夺2020东京奥运会入场券。


图源:徐诗晓微博


Xu's coach, Peng Hao, says Xu is an excellent athlete.
徐诗晓的教练彭浩说徐诗晓是一名杰出的运动员。


"She made all efforts to reach the goal and never gave up. She has a strong heart to face high pressure," says Peng.
彭教练说:“为达到目标,她付出了所有努力,从来不说放弃。她有一颗强心脏来抵御高压。”


Xu was born in a small county in a mountainous area in Jiangxi. Her mother farmed at home while her father worked in a factory. She started to help her mother do farm work and housework when she was a little girl.
徐诗晓出生在江西山区的一个小县城。她的妈妈在家务农,爸爸在工厂上班。很小的时候,她就开始帮妈妈干农活、做家务。


Before becoming a paddler, Xu couldn't even swim since her hometown is surrounded by mountains.
依山长大,徐诗晓在成为皮划艇运动员之前,甚至连游泳都不会。


In 2005, the 13-year-old, who was much taller than her peers, attracted the attention of a rowing coach who came to look for potential paddlers in her school.
2005年,一位划艇教练来到徐诗晓的学校,想发掘一些皮划艇运动员苗子。徐诗晓当时13岁,比同龄孩子都要高,吸引了这位教练的注意。


Xu agreed to train at a rowing center because she thought rowing a boat was fun.
因为觉得划船有意思,徐诗晓便同意开始在一个皮划艇中心接受训练。


Unlike rowing in which the athlete sits on a boat and rows on two sides, canoeing requires paddlers to kneel on one leg and paddle on a single side. To stay balanced is quite difficult.
在一般划船运动中,运动员坐在船上、两边划桨。与此不同,划艇运动要求运动员一条腿半跪,手持浆在一侧划水。保持平衡非常难。


"Every day my canoe turned over dozens of times. I drank lots of water in rivers," recalls Xu of her first canoeing training.
回忆起第一次训练,徐诗晓说:“我的艇每天都要翻十几次,我呛了好多水。”


Xu kept training for a year and she made the final of a national race for teenage athletes out of a dozen paddlers at the center. The training involved to get this far bordered on torture.
经过一年多的训练,徐诗晓从中心一众划艇运动员中脱颖而出,进入到了一场国家级青年运动员比赛的决赛中。走到这一步,她已身经百炼。


In 2013, the news that women's canoeing was still not an Olympic event dealt her a heavy blow. No Games, no competitions. Xu's coach suggested her to either change to another sport or to retire.
2013年,女子皮划艇仍未列入奥运比赛项目,这给了徐诗晓一记重击。没有奥运会,没有比赛。徐诗晓的教练建议她要么换个项目,要么就退役。


It was impossible for her to change the sport at age 21. Xu gave up her career and found her first job as a saleswoman in a furniture company. The next year, she was promoted as a human resources manager.
对彼时已经21岁徐诗晓来说,换项目是不可能的。于是,她选择退役,并开始了自己的第一份工作,在家具公司做销售。次年,她被提拔为人事经理。


"I never thought that one day I could go back to the sport. Now that I have started again, I will do my best," says Xu.
徐诗晓说:“我从来没想过有一天能重回这项运动。既然我重新开始了,我就会尽最大努力。”


She adds that her former boss even kept her position for several months in case she returned.
徐诗晓透露说,她的前老板在她辞职后,还为她保留了几个月的职位,想着万一她还要回公司。


In 2018, she won the 500m women's single event at the Canoe Slalom World Cup in Hungary. In 2019, she partnered with Sun, then 18, to get their ticket for the Tokyo Olympics by winning gold at the ICF Canoe Sprint World Championships.
2018年,皮划艇世界杯匈牙利站,徐诗晓获得500米女子单人划艇冠军。2019年,徐诗晓与当时仅18岁的孙梦雅搭档,向世界皮划艇锦标赛金牌发起冲击,争夺东京奥运会入场券。


Compared with athletes who are in their early 20s, Xu's physical recovery is slower. But the career expectancy for athletes has got longer.
和那些20岁出头的运动员相比,徐诗晓的身体恢复起来没那么快。但在这个时代,运动员们的职业生涯有所延伸。


"Age is not a problem anymore for an athlete in the era of technology," says Xu.
徐诗晓说:“在科技时代,年龄对运动员来说不再是什么问题了。”


The Olympic medalist will participate in competitions at home and abroad this year. She is also looking forward to taking part in the Paris Olympics in 2024.
今年,徐诗晓还将参加国内外多项赛事,她本人也期待在巴黎奥运会上一展风采。

 

编辑:李金昳 周婵
记者:邓章瑜
录音:Stephanie Stone
实习生:申乐 舒好


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