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【2016 PKU Student of the Year】Multifaceted life of Sun Yujie

MAY . 23 2017

Peking University, May 20, 2017: After Beijing won the 2008 Olympic bid in 2001, people gathered on the Great Wall to celebrate this major national event. A little girl in the crowd was picked out to give an interview, and she promptly announced  that she would fight for an Olympic champion as she grew up.

11 years has passed in silence. The girl grew up and became one of the main athletes of the Chinese Women’s Epee Team. In the 2012 London Olympics, she won the first gold medal in the team event and the first bronze medal in the individual event on behalf of the country, achieving a historical breakthrough for the Chinese Women’s Epee Team.

The girl who achieved her seemingly childish dream 11 years ago is Sun Yujie.

Days on the piste

Sun Yujie has shown her outstanding sports talent since she was still a little girl. However, before becoming an epee athlete, Sun had failed in her attempt to become a swimming athlete. Even though after her change of sport, the early training as an epee athlete was filled with all kinds of drawbacks and difficulties.

"To move further towards your future, you have to get over a great amount of difficulties, among which this stage is only a rather small one.” It was her mother’s encouragement that helped her out. From then on, Sun has been keeping beating difficulties and challenging herself for success.

In the March of 2007, the 15-year-old Sun got the chance of entering the national team. Afterwards, she won a gold medal in the individual event during the 2009 World Youth Championship. This was the first world-class title that Sun won.

Despite a successive injuries, Sun never thought about quitting her training. “I am shouldering the responsibility of my country and families,” said Sun.

During the 2012 London Olympics, Sun won a gold medal and a bronze medal on the piste, which made it the second year for Sun to rank 1st in the annual ranking of the International Fencing Federation. During the 2015 Fencing World Championship, Sun, along with her teammates, won a gold medal in the team event and successfully achieved her first personal Grand Slam.

Sun’s journey in international major sports events has never stopped. During the 2016 Rio Olympics, she was selected to compete for the country again and won a silver medal in the team event. So far she has made herself the first athlete ever in Chinese fencing history to win a gold medal, a silver medal and a bronze medal all in Olympic Games.

New life at Peking University

Due to the long-term intensive training and competitions, it is impossible for Sun to spend her time and energy in elementary education like her peers. Therefore, Sun has been looking forward to more education opportunities to become “an Olympic champion with a high cultural level”.

On August 10th, 2013, the day of Sun’s 21st birthday, she received an offer of admission from Peking University, which she regarded as one of the most precious birthday gifts in her life.

In that September, Sun became an undergraduate at the School of Government of Peking University. The new campus life, however, seemed like an entire mess, bringing her lots of challenges which she has never met before. Fortunately, thanks to the help and support from her teachers and classmates, Sun gradually adapted to the campus life and had a good grasp of course learning.

Nonetheless, as an active athlete, Sun cannot  concentrate on her campus study wholeheartedly since she is required to take her ongoing daily training at the same time. Every time she had a morning class, she needed to get up at 5:00 am in order to get to school on time. What’s more, having finished daily training, she still needed to stay up late to review her lessons and complete the after-class homework given by her teachers.

When recalled by the Liaoning Provincial Team, Sun had to commute between Liaoning and Beijing every week. Sometimes those competitions took up her time for class, but she would always make up her missed lessons at once when she returned to school. Yao Jingyi, the Vice Chairman of the Committee of School of Government, felt particularly proud of Sun, saying that on Sun she could see those precious characters as a PKU student such as diligence and positive life attitude.

Living as an ordinary girl

Although busy with training and study, Sun is still devoted to the public welfare and often tries her best to arrange time for charity activities such as book donations and charity auctions. From her point of view, kindness should be the most important character for human beings. Therefore, she is always prepared to give a hand to those who needed it.

Even though she is an extraordinarily tall figure, Sun is actually an ordinary girl in her daily life. During her spare time at home, Sun loves to play with cats and knit scarves. In the Epee Team, Sun is popular with her team members as a barrel of laughs. “It's better to spend the day with a smile rather than with a cry,” said Sun.

As for the future, Sun seemed not to have too many plans whereas treasuring the present valued more for her. However, she expressed a strong wish of spending more time with her families in the future since trainings and competitions these years have taken the focus away from her life.

In addition, she mentioned that she also looked forward to a trip to Tibet. As for the reason, in her mind, Tibet was a sacred place for travelers to purify their hearts.

Written by: Zheng Yuan
Edited by: Xu Liangdi
Source: PKU News (in Chinese)