What Are These YCAers Doing?

Have you ever jumped into a frozen lake? How many kilometers can you run a week? How long can you hold a plank? And what is waiting for the climber atop the tree? The answers are all in the annual YCA Olympics.

YCA Scholars across the world showed their physical capabilities in the five-day online sports event – YCA Olympics – organized by six YCA Scholar councilors between November 16 and 20, 2021, despite the physical distance and time difference. Participants, both sportspersons and beginners, enjoyed themselves in the six sections of Walking, Running, Plank, Sit-up/Jumping Jack/Squat, Dancing, and Freestyle.

Theodore Lebryk (United States) attained a record of 44.07 kilometers and was crowned YCA’s Top Runner, Jue Yu Jade Phua (Singapore) was the first runner-up, and Caroline Chai Zhang (United States) ranked third place

“Walking” was the top-hit event of the six. Participants clocked in and posted videos along the road. Caroline Chai Zhang won the top spot with 86,964 steps. The silver medalist John Adrian Lion Jacob Nikita Warburg (Germany) walked 32,955 steps on the first day of the competition and remained the single-day-record keeper, with a total score of 82,526 steps. Bella Tseeva (Russia) ranked third with 58,736 steps.

Daniel Tafelski (Germany) was the champion in Plank with a total time of 36 minutes (including side plank), Leonardo Regis (Brazil) ranked second place with 27’30”, and Hui Xin Wong (Malaysia) was the second runner-up with 23’02”. Our Scholars had fun in this section. Richard Liu (United States) told jokes and riddles while holding a plank; Bella Tseeva painted and peeled a tangerine on her plank; and Katherine Monroe (United States) attempted to eat a dish of shrimp dumplings as she was doing push-ups.

Joseph Januszewicz (United States) topped the medal tally in Sit-up/Jumping Jack/Squat, boasting 1,400 times, twice that of the runner-up, Jue Yu Jade Phua, with 578 times, and Lu Danqi (China) came third with 560 times.

Dance was this year’s latest and most popular activity. Our dancers performed classical, jazz, and self-created dance moves that were either funny, lovely, cool, or graceful in style. The Dance section witnessed many dancing GOATs and was like the YCA-edition Douyin. A handsome majority elected Mattia Bertolini (Netherlands) the Number One in the Dance event. He won the audience with his ingeniously choreographed video clips.

Mattia Bertolini loved the Dance event because he saw diverse cultures in harmony in dance. Music and dance were an international joy.

The Freestyle event was more like a YCA Talent Show. Our Scholars practiced Taekwondo, lifted weights, cycled, and played golf. Beyond those conventional sports, they undertook tree climbing, sandbags kicking, whistling, and climbed stairs with a dog in the arm. There was simply so much fun.

Richard Liu was an amazing rapper, and Jacob Zecha Mpemba from Kenya sang his song to YCA. Augustine Pasin (United States) proved to be the top freestyler who braved a frozen lake.

Every participant grew stronger and revitalized thanks to the event, working hard to secure a win for their class and contributing many fantastic ideas. Also, they knew better about one another by showing and enjoying their skills and creative ideas.

Reflecting on the activities, Joseph Januszewicz noted that he undertook more exercise during the week’s online events than he had done in the previous two months. He enjoyed the videos posted by his fellow students, which enabled him to learn more about his colleagues and their activities.

Bella Tseeva noted that although she initially felt glued to the laptop because she had to attend online classes, the week-long YCA Olympics pulled her back to life. She added that she did not relent even when every muscle from her head to toes screamed soreness. She also enjoyed the videos from her fellow participants. They shared songs and exciting experiences about their daily life.

Simon Büschges (Germany) was enchanted by the sense of belonging the YCA Olympics brought and the inspiration to do outdoor sports. He felt more entrenched in the YCA family and enjoyed the online sports events, although he and other colleagues could not be on campus.

Katherine Monroe loved the event because the Scholars showed what they could not in the classroom. She admired her schoolmates’ creativity, talent, and happiness and was grateful to become closer to them through the YCA Olympics.

Jue Yu Jade Phua enjoyed the shared videos, allowing her to know more about her “on-the-cloud schoolmates.” She grew less isolated or lonely in her online learning.

The videos, filled with ingenious ideas and talents, warmed this winter. We are expecting more new and exciting activities from our Scholars. We are also looking forward to a reunion of our YCA family on the Peking University campus.

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