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Funding for Taiwanese speed skater frozen for 2 years over Beijing antics

Sports administration halts funding for Huang following 'inappropriate remarks and actions' during Beijing 2022

Huang Yu-ting wearing a skin suit from the Chinese speed skating team. (Instagram, uting_hope image)

Huang Yu-ting wearing a skin suit from the Chinese speed skating team. (Instagram, uting_hope image)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Taiwan's Sports Administration (SA) on Thursday (March 3) announced that it will halt training and competition subsidies for Olympic speed skater Huang Yu-ting (黃郁婷) after her "inappropriate remarks and actions" during the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing.

Huang first came under fire on Feb. 3 after she posted footage of herself training in a Chinese uniform. After Taiwanese netizens criticized her for the move, she defended her actions by stating that "sports do not take nationality into account," and later further agitated Taiwanese by saying competing in Beijing "felt like competing on her home field," among other controversial comments.

Education Minister Pan Wen-chung (潘文忠) on Feb. 21 announced that the government will discuss disciplinary action against Huang within the next two weeks for her repeated "inappropriate remarks and actions" and response to Taiwanese with views on the matter with provocative comments and actions at the Winter Olympics. This indicated Huang's behavior could no longer be described as a "one-time lapse in judgment," Pan stated.

On Wednesday (March 2), the SA held a special disciplinary meeting that included the Chinese Taipei Olympic Committee, the Chinese Taipei Skating Union, legal experts, and scholars. Huang, who is currently abroad, participated in the meeting via video conferencing.

Lan Kun-ten (藍坤田), head of the Sports Administration's Competitive Athletics Division, was cited by CNA as saying that in addition to giving Huang a chance to speak at the meeting, some scholars asked her if she wanted to express her opinion on the matter. Lan said that Huang responded by apologizing again for her actions.

Lan said that as a member of the national team, her "words and deeds will always attract worldwide attention." Her controversial words and actions during the Winter Olympics in Beijing "not only harmed the image of the delegation, but also damaged the nation's honor and reputation," said Lan.

He stated that Huang's behavior was not in line with the benefits and purpose of supporting athletes with government subsidies. Therefore, Lan said that the decision was made to halt training and competition subsidies to Huang for two years.

Last year, Huang and another speed skater applied for a total of NT$1.9 million in funding. As for how to regulate the behavior of athletes in the future, Lan said that he will investigate the training and competition methods used by national team coaches and athletes as soon as possible.

Lee said that he hopes that new guidelines on athlete behavior should be completed by the end of June and can be applied to the FISU World University Games in Chengdu which start on June 26. In response to concerns that Huang's freedom of speech was being infringed upon, Lee said that the SA's disciplinary action was not directed at a single comment made by her, but the fact that "similar controversies repeatedly occurred" after being warned by officials to exercise caution.