2022 predictions, and sailing star Xu Lijia meets Peng Shuai

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First up, we look at the back-and-forth between China and the U.S. on visas for State Department personnel ahead of the Winter Olympics and discuss what’s really going on (1:47). Then we look ahead to 2022 with some bold predictions (emphasis on bold!). From the Olympics to F1 to basketball, 2022 will be sure to have many surprises in store, and we give our predictions, plus a couple of hopes, for the coming year in sport in China. (3:13)

Our guest this week is Xú Lìjiā 徐莉佳, who goes by Lily in English and who won sailing gold at the 2012 London Olympics. Just last week she popped up in photos seen around the world with tennis player Péng Shuài 彭帅 (15:20). She spoke to us about her experience of being named the flagbearer for China at the 2012 Closing Ceremony (16:25), how winning Olympic gold changed her life (18:40), why she launched a sailing podcast (21:37), a typical training regime for sailors (22:36), how she got into sailing after being recruited from the swimming pool (25:20) and the system for identifying and developing talented athletes, plus the sacrifices that Chinese hopefuls have to make (30:11).

More recently, she’s been busy learning how to drive an E Formula 1 car with Daniel Lu of the Porsche Driving Academy (33:45), and hanging out in Shanghai with Yao Ming and Peng Shuai. We asked Xu how that meeting happened (34:29), what they talked about and what Peng said to her (36:09). Finally, she talked about the Beijing Olympics and the role she might play (37:43), before Mark and Haig discussed the interview — and Xu’s meeting with Peng — in more detail (41:30).