"Sheer tenacity": Taiwanese skier falls off the slope and picks himself up

It looked like Maggie Lee, 19, had lost one of the early gates after falling on her first slope run.

"Sheer tenacity": Taiwanese skier falls off the slope and picks himself up

Lee Wen-Yi is a Taiwanese teenager who competes under her Chinese name. Taiwan is a subtropical country that sees snow only in its high mountains, and only occasionally. Lee was unable to ski during school holidays, when she traveled to Japan with her parents as ski-instructors.

Later, she trained in Europe and her father drove her to competitions.

On Wednesday morning, standing on Yanqing's highest stage, she thought that something might go wrong. She didn't know she would actually fall.

"I didn't expect to fall so quickly," she said. She said it was the third target of my first run. "I have worked so hard for so many years. This was unacceptable to me.

"So, I decided to stand up again and climb up again."

She did.

Lee took one step up the hill in her ski gear until she reached the gate that she had missed. She then struck it with her body.

She finished her run.

Then she started the second leg and hit all the gates.

She said, "I thought, is it okay to climb like that at the Olympics?"

Other competitors were disqualified for missing the gates during Wednesday's competition. This included Mikaela Shiffrin from the United States, who was among those most likely to win multiple Olympic medals.

Lee's assessment: Competitive athletes are primarily focused on winning medals and times. Most would not choose to climb. Lee is however the first female slalom slalom competitor to represent Taiwan at Games. She competes under Chinese Taipei. She said that she never wanted to win a medal but to just "ski beautifully".

She's been overwhelmed by the positive reaction on both the English- and Chinese-language internets since Wednesday. On Wednesday, Eurosport posted a video showing her fall and climb, and called it the "Olympic Spirit." More than 20,000 people liked the post. Taiwanese media picked it up quickly.

"Sheer tenacity! One Facebook user wrote, "This is what makes the Olympics unique."

Another wrote, "With this kind of spirit, even though she doesn't win,"

Was she happy with the outcome? She finished 50th, with an additional 15 seconds.

She laughed and said, "I've been made famous because of one fall." She was happy.


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