For many athletes, playing in the Olympics has been a dream since childhood. And some North American athletes are ready to alienate their home countries to achieve that dream.
One of those players is Jake Chelios, who plays for the Beijing-centric Kunlun Red Star in the Kontinental Hockey League. He grew up watching his father and NHL Hall of Famer Chris Chelios in the Olympics, where he reached the 2002 Olympic final in Salt Lake City, Utah.
Twenty years later, Jake Chelios will also represent the host country at the Olympics. But instead of playing for the United States like his father, the Chicago-born player will play for the communist team China.
“I think half the family was a bit confused at first about what was going on, but now they’re starting to understand how special it is,” Chelios said, according to NBC.
Chelios, 30, said since he’s lived in Beijing for about 10% of his life, he feels part of Chinese culture.
“Since we’ve been here for three years, whatever it is, you start to feel the closeness to China,” he said. “We ate Chinese food, we were living Chinese culture, so you start to feel a certain closeness to China, and you start to feel like you’re really representing them. , and you want to win for them.”
Based on First post, some North American players are using pseudonyms “to aid Chinese fans in pronunciation.” Chelios will go by “Jieke Kailiaosi.”
Although New name and new identity found in ChinaChelios said he didn’t try to learn the language.
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“I know two or three words (in Chinese),” he said according to Firstpost. “I studied Spanish for six years in high school, and I couldn’t learn that, so I didn’t even try (with Chinese).”
In addition to some players born in the US, many players on the Chinese team were born in Canada. One of those players is Tyler Wong, Chelios’ teammate on Red Star.
“We’ve been playing with Kunlun for a few years now, so it all led to this,” says Wong. “We’re just trying to stay focused and get ready for the tournament.”
After the NHL announced the decision not to stop the season to let the players participate in the Olympics, the Chinese team grew more confident.
“It’s a lot more realistic to do some damage to us,” Chelios said of the team’s new outlook. “We want to challenge the teams and have respect for China.”
Firstpost reported, China is in the same group as Canada, the United States and Germany. That means players from both the US and Canada will have to play against their real country.
Based on Reuters, this phenomenon is not exclusive to men’s hockey. Hannah Miller, a Candian-born female hockey player who represents Canada as an under-18 player, currently plays for China under the name Mi Le.
She scored the only goal for China in a 3-1 loss to the Czech Republic on Thursday, but head coach Brian Idalski declined to answer reporters’ questions about her legacy after the game. , Reuters reported.
The Chinese men’s team will open the Olympic match on February 10 against the United States, Reuters reported. Chelios and his American teammates will compete with the colors red, white and blue right outside the gate.
https://www.westernjournal.com/american-hockey-players-no-chinese-heritage-set-represent-china-us-using-fake-names/ American hockey players with no Chinese heritage set to represent China against the US using fake names