Danish commuter and Chinese culture lover Viktor Axelsen wins gold at Tokyo Olympics
Denmark’s Viktor Axelsen returns to the men’s singles final at the All England Open Badminton Championships in Birmingham, England on Sunday. Photo: VCG
Danish commuter Viktor Axelsen won Olympic gold on Monday after beating Chinese champion Chen Long in the men’s singles badminton final. The new champion, who is also a big fan of Chinese culture, gave his Chinese rival a big hug after the competition as a sign of respect. After the game, while sending words of encouragement to Chen for his performance in the final, Chinese netizens also congratulated Axelsen.
In the final competition, Axelsen beat Rio Olympics champion Chen Long 21-15 and 21-12. Finally winning against his “old rival”, Axelsen was seen bursting into tears on the badminton court and hugging Chen. The two athletes also exchanged jerseys to show their respect for each other.
The exchange of the two commuters quickly became a hot topic on China’s Twitter-like Sina Weibo channel, as affected netizens described the scene as “one hero knows how to appreciate another hero.” Chinese netizens also sent their warm congratulations to Axelsen.
“! wrote a user on Sina Weibo.
Other observant fans have noted that the Danish player has been a fan of Chinese culture for some time. He not only opened his own channels on Chinese video sharing platforms such as Douyin and Bilibili to interact with fans, but also gave himself a Chinese name – “An Sai Long”. An is a namesake of Axelsen’s last name, while “long” means “dragon” in Chinese, which has led fans to describe his game with Chen Long as the “double dragon competition”.
“I chose ‘long’ because my Chinese teacher told me that the dragon is a totem that symbolizes the Chinese spirit, and that a man should be like a dragon, so I named myself An Sai Long. “Axelsen told the media.
Having studied Chinese since 2014, Axelsen has excellent Chinese language skills, often posting videos of himself doing Chinese tongue twisters. He also posted touching words on Sina Weibo after winning the contest.
“It’s hard to express my feelings in my limited Chinese. I have too much to say, but I don’t know where to start. Let me say what I want to say the most – thanks everyone!” Axelsen posted on Sina Weibo to show his gratitude to the Chinese fans.
He also praised Chen for Sina Weibo, adding that Chen had been a major inspiration for his badminton career.
Axelsen is the first non-Asian man to win the badminton singles since Poul-Erik H? Yer Larsen, another Danish player, who won gold at the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta.