Rachel Llanes spills all on life inside Team China’s camp


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With the Omicron variant rampant worldwide, calls to postpone the Olympics have been growing louder. We discuss why that’s simply not an option for China (1:04). The Olympic “closed-loop management system” went into operation this week. Here’s how it works (6:17). More bad news for tennis in China as streaming platform iQiyi drops all WTA and ATP tournaments (9:40), and CGTN releases its new Olympic anthem. It’s worth a watch/listen! (12:00)

Our guest this week is Rachel Llanes, who doubles as a forward for the Chinese women’s ice hockey team and as their strength and conditioning coach. She explains how the team has just returned to China, after playing in the Russian Women’s Hockey League (13:56), how she’s been putting her teammates through their paces despite being stuck in quarantine (15:07), how she copes with the pressure to overtrain (17:19), and what the past season has been like for her (18:38).

Next, she describes how a walking tour in Saint Petersburg went awry (19:27), how she first got involved with the Chinese team (20:57), the team’s stuttering progress after the loss of legendary coach Digit Murphy (22:41), how she didn’t know she’d be eligible to play for China until November last year (24:27), and what exactly happened to finalize China’s Olympic roster (25:08). Llanes also discusses the stringent testing and quarantine requirements she is currently undergoing (25:38) and reveals what the team is doing to prepare for their opponents at the Olympics (27:01), before giving her views on whether China can be a realistic medal threat (28:06).