China’s elite snowboarders are gearing up for the Winter Olympics
Training at the Shanghai Ultimate Fighting Championship Performance Institute
Liu Jiayu and Cai Xuetong are under the watchful eye of German trainer Felix Falkenberg
ULTIMATE FIGHTING CHAMPIONSHIP'S (UFC) SPORT SCIENCE AND PERFORMANCE MANAGER, FELIX FALKENBERG:
"Snowboarding's a very specific sport. It's very power orientated but you need that base level strength. So when the girls arrived, or any other external athletes arrive in the PI (Performance Institute), we do (an) intake assessment. We look at what sport they are in and we make sure that the testing we do to make sure we actually know what their strengths are, what their weaknesses are.”
Until recently, Liu and Cai spent more time training abroad than in China
Though, training with foreign coaches is a departure for many Chinese Olympians
The Shangai UFC PI is the first foreign high-performance advisor
to the Chinese Olympic Committee, says Kevin Chang
UFC'S SENIOR VICE PRESIDENT FOR THE ASIA PACIFIC REGION, KEVIN CHANG: "Really, what we're looking to do is raise the bar on sport. Bring some of the best practices we feel, like mixed martial arts athletes have some of the most rigorous training, are some of the best athletes in professional sports. And so we've developed a protocol and approach a system of philosophy if you want to call it that, that enables them to get the most out of their training to have the best performances in the octagon. And that has a lot of carry over with other sports."
FALKENBERG: "China's obviously pushing to get really good results at this Beijing Olympics so having recalled all these external athletes or the Chinese athletes who were elsewhere, back to China has limited that time on snow. And being able to give them that confidence that physically you are perfectly ready, so this wasn't just a waste of time. You are actually progressing yourself and getting towards your goal and now it's time to convert that strength and that power we've worked on to snow, get ready for your routines and hopefully be as successful as they can be in the Olympics."
The Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics are scheduled to begin on Feb. 4