Editor's Note: The eyes of the world are turning to China. In this ongoing series, we tell stories about how Chinese approaches promote understanding, solve problems and improve the lives of people around the globe.
With the 2022 Winter Olympics approaching, more and more people have turned their eyes to Beijing and the Olympics.
In an exclusive interview, Michael Wester, an American who has been living in Beijing for 21 years, shares his passion for ice and snow sports as well as his expectations for the Winter Olympics.
The following are some highlights from the interview.
Q: Could you say something about your experience with winter sports?
Michael Wester: I grew up in New England, which climatically is very similar to Beijing. Its summers are hot and winters cold and mountains not too far away. I grew up in the suburbs of Boston. Skiing was very popular. A lot of people would go skiing over the weekend. Skating and ice hockey were also very popular. But strangely enough when I was a kid I never did any of these things. I couldn't stand up on skates. I'm one of four children of our parents. So taking the whole family out for a skiing vacation wasn't really possible because it was way too expensive. So I was an adult before I ever went skiing and I only learned how to skate when I was 22 years old. Now I love both sports.
I don't do much of them, but I have a daughter who is now 14. She was born here in Beijing. When she was young, I said to myself I enjoy skating so much I want to make sure she knows how to skate from a very early age. So from almost the time she could walk she started ice skating. She took a lot of lessons and we had a lot of fun together.
Q: Why do you like winter sports?
Michael Wester: Even though I did not go skiing or skating when I was a kid, I would go sledding. In the winter if it snowed I would be outside sliding down the hill in a sled. That was my most treasured activity as a kid. Where I was growing up, the greatest thing in the world would be the snow day. There was so much snow that school would be canceled. And this was the best day of my life and you immediately went outside and brought out sleds. Near my neighborhood there's an ice hill, so we just sled until our fingers and toes were frozen and couldn't stand it anymore and we would go inside and just warm up slowly.
When I go ice skating, I just feel this like it is so freeing. You feel like you could go faster than anything than you could on a bike or running or anything like that. It just feels so amazing to slide across the ice on skates. That's one of my most favorite feelings in the world.