- Canadian-born Zhou Jiaying, who is playing for the Chinese Olympic women’s ice hockey team, revealed that she is prohibited from speaking English in interviews after an aide helped translate Zhou’s answers intoEnglish during a post-match press briefing.
- Originally known as Kimberly Newell in Canada, Zhou adopted a Chinese name after being recruited to play for the Chinese national team at the Beijing Olympics.
- During matches, Zhou wears a specially designed goalie mask, pads and blocker emblazoned with dragons.
Canadian-born Zhou Jiaying, the goalie for the Chinese Olympic women’s ice hockey team, was reportedly prohibited from speaking English during a post-match press briefing at Wukesong Sports Center on Sunday.
The 26-year-old athlete was asked by a reporter during the interview if she could take a few questions in English, Reuters reported.
Zhou consulted an aide nearby and responded in Mandarin that she was not allowed to do so. The aide then told reporters in English, “She’s not allowed to speak English. I’ll try to translate for her.”
When asked about her goals for the Games, Zhou answered haltingly in Mandarin, which the aide translated to English.
A journalist also posed a question about the meaning of the name she adopted to join Team China. The aide translated her reply, explaining that “‘Jia’ means like ‘nice’ and ‘warm’ and ‘beautiful’.” Zhou whispered the word “auspicious,” to the aide, who then relayed the word to the reporter.
Zhou, known as Kimberly Newell in her birth country Canada, is among a number of foreign-born athletes who were recruited to play for the Chinese national team at the Beijing Olympics.
While she still uses her birth name on her social media accounts, “Kimberly Newell” is listed as her “previous name” on Zhou’s official Olympic biography.
Like many hockey goalkeepers who customize their masks and pads with iconic symbols and references, Zhou’s goalie mask, pads and blocker are all emblazoned with a unique design. Zhou shows loyalty to her team by wearing gear designed with Chinese-style dragons during the Olympic matches, according to ESPN.
— Goalie Gear Nerd (@GoalieGearNerd) February 2, 2022
Zhou, who was born and raised in Vancouver, previously played for Princeton NCAA hockey. In 2018, she transferred to China-based team KRS Vanke Rays, which saw action in the Canadian Women’s Hockey League and later the Zhenskaya Hockey League, an international women’s league based in Moscow.