A pair of youth Chinese speed skaters operated what is known as the “rabbit tactic” to perfection at the 2024 Winter Youth Olympics in Gangwon, South Korea, taking home the gold and silver awards in the 1,500-meter short-track race with the help of a perfectly legal maneuver.
The two worked to trick the opponents into thinking the race was over when in fact there was still one more lap. Essentially, skater Yang Jingru bolted to the front and lapped everyone in the 13-lap cycle. She then hung at the end of the pack, needing the stamina to go through one more sprint to hang ahead of everyone else while looking like she was at the back.
When the race “ended” — or should I say, when everyone thought the race had ended and slowed down despite it not being over — teammate Li Jinzi easily cruised to second place.
Tiktok user @Schmittly posted a video with the race and excellent narration:
This video is incredible. A Chinese speed skater takes off at the beginning of a longer race. Her teammate then sprints to the front, confusing everyone on the “final lap” and easily securing Gold and Silver medals for the team. Watch until the end. Great teamwork. pic.twitter.com/ogLc7zywxV
— Joe Pompliano (@JoePompliano) February 3, 2024
Pulling off this maneuver successfully is tricky for a multitude of reasons. First, one must hope the other racers forget that there is a person one lap ahead of them. Second, and perhaps more importantly, the racer must be able accelerate quickly on two separate ocassions: Once at the beginning to gain an entire lap, and another time over the final few laps when all other races are skating as fast as they can.
“Normally in the 1,500m race, the athletes should speed up in the last few laps, but this time, I (had) to sprint twice,” Yang said to outlet Xinhua, translated to English.
“This is the boldest thing I have ever seen in sports in a long time,” @Schmittly said in the Tiktok.
The Winter Youth Olympics were held from Jan. 19 to Feb. 1 in Gangwon Province, South Korea.