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Lebanese ski coach recalls dance at ceremony

Updated: 2022-02-25 08:34 ( China Daily )
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BEIRUT-Naim Fenianos, a Lebanese Alpine ski coach, made a name for himself in China after being spotted dancing during the athletes' parade at the opening ceremony of the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics.

As Fenianos' dance video went viral on Chinese social media, some compared him to Deng Chao, a Chinese actor and singer who also likes to display interesting dance moves.

The 29-year-old coach, whose nickname is Nino, says he did not want to make a regular entrance during the opening ceremony.

"I thought of the dance three minutes before entering the Bird's Nest ... It was spontaneous," Nino explains.

"I wanted to express, in my own way, the excitement I felt for taking part in the Olympics," he says.

Nino, whose country has experienced tumultuous several decades, says that he is aware that "the Lebanese are unlikely to win many competitions, but they still have fun and enjoy participating in big events".

"We are able to present a good image of our country," he notes.

Nino says he was very happy to learn that he became popular in China after his dance.

"It went viral very fast, I couldn't believe it. It was unreal," Nino says, adding that he was happy to be compared to Deng, who is a very popular star in China.

Nino, who has been skiing for more than 20 years, tried twice to qualify for the Winter Olympic Games himself, but failed to do so due to injuries sustained in both attempts.

He has been a ski coach for over three years now and could not be any happier about his first experience at the biggest and most prestigious sports event in the world.

"My experience at the Olympics was super smooth, almost perfect. I felt at home," he says.

Nino admires China's perfect organization of the Olympic Games and appreciates the volunteers who were very helpful and friendly.

"The COVID-19 measures were absolutely perfect. We felt very safe and protected," he notes.

Nino says he hopes that the Lebanese authorities will offer more support for skiers, so that they can achieve more at future Olympic Games.

"We need a budget to train for around eight to nine months every year in different parts of the world," he says, adding support is needed three to four years ahead of a big event for a Lebanese athlete to be able to be competitive.

Nino says his unique experiences, and the friendly and warm atmosphere he felt in China, have encouraged him to revisit the country soon to learn more about its culture and people.

"I definitely want to visit (China) when COVID-19 slows down a little," he says.



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