Former short track speed skater Wang Yang combines sporting experience and entrepreneurship

Updated 2017-05-04 13:30:28 Xinhua

Sportswear entrepreneur Wang Yang has quite a hectic work schedule from day to day. Not only is he the creator of the famous battle blades that were worn by Olympic champion speed skater Zhang Hong, he is also the creator of a line of top notch performance roller blades that will soon be made available to the general public.

Unlike many other entrepreneurs in the field of sporting footwear, Wang Yang used to be a figure skater himself. After four years as a figure skater, he had a career change at fourteen, going into short track speed skating.

"All skate gear was imported back then; imported gear had not been crafted with Asian body frames in mind, we had to hand alter the skates to fit our personal needs," Wang said.

When asked about the secrets that went into such seemingly complicated altercation procedure, he said the process was not too hard.

"All you really needed was gauze and any form of fast adhesives. By gluing them together, athletes can perform better as they have more grasp on their feet. Many find that this simple alteration aids their overall balance, therefore decreasing their chances of a fall."

It was due to this pioneering method of alternation that Wang was able to earn a spot on the Chinese national short track speed skating team. Unfortunately, before he was able to represent China at any higher level, a hernia surgery caused his early retirement.

Wang then moved to Lanzhou, where he started coaching. He collaborated with local craftsmen to develop China's first-ever domestically made skates. It was this product that sparked his interest in entrepreneurship.

Returning to Changchun in 2006, Wang's failed attempt at a comeback pushed him to move into full-time work producing skates from scratch.

Appreciative of his past, Wang Yang attributes his success to a good work ethic that was developed during his skating career.

"Athleticism and sportsmanship teach us to face hardships head-on," he says.

It was also thanks to his prior experience skating that his final products were developed not only with top notch parts, but also with a keen eye toward the actual needs of athletes.

To further ensure the quality of his skates, Wang even purchased an Australian blade manufacture named Pennington, leading the Chinese skate manufacturing industry to enjoy a something of a renaissance.

The Sochi 2014 Olympics Games proved an ideal stage to showcase his creation. Demonstrating skills as a strong sprinter earlier in the games, Zhang Hong set the fastest time in the competition with an acceleration during her final bend. By half a second, China celebrated its first ever Olympic gold medal in speed skating.

The quality of Wang's skates is also acknowledged worldwide: Elise Christie, after a horrid Olympic debut in Sochi, proved her strength by winning triple gold in 1000m, 1500m and the overall at the 2017 world championships wearing Wang's skates.

Currently, the skates are worn by many internationally decorated Chinese champions including Fan Kexuan, Wu Dajin, Han Tianyu, and Chen Guang. They are also found on athletes from countries and regions including Canada and South Korea.

In addition to the 8,000 standard skates produced in 2016, Wang's company produce one pair of hand-made high-end professional skates each day during the skating season.

To further support professional skaters, Wang is looking at the production of sportswear that specializes in protecting athletes from slips and falls on icy surfaces.

"I hope to lengthen the professional life of athletes. I also want to create high quality products that can be used by the general public," he said.

He also says that, with the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics just around the corner, his business is expected to pick up accordingly.

"Personally not having a chance at the Olympics will be an eternal regret. Profit is not important. What's important is that my products stand alone as a symbol for the chance I never had."

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