Winter Games Athletes
Though she heads to her first Olympics as a relative afterthought in terms of medal contention, Zhang boasts some impressive results of late and comes into Sochi on the upswing. She took up skating as a youngster in 1995, initially training in short track before changing her focus to the longer track, on which she began competing in 2008. She set a pair of personal records at the 2012 world sprint championships, taking bronze in the 500 meters and finishing third overall in the combined standings. Zhang enjoyed a strong run at the 2013 Chinese national winter games, winning gold in the 1,000 and silver in the 500. She finished second overall in the 1,000 at the sprint world championships last month following first- and second-place finishes on Day 1 and Day 2. The winner in the 1,000 at each of the last two Asian single distance championships, Zhang has declared a goal of winning gold in the Olympics despite the fact she's considered a longshot for the top of the podium. While China has enjoyed plenty of success in short track, she would be the country’s first gold medalist of either gender in speedskating if she were to pull off an upset.