YCA Olympics | Building A Solid Physique While Having Fun

This year’s YCA Olympics, one of Yenching Academy’s student-initiated feature events, kicked off as scheduled from November 7 to 11 as the winter season tiptoed in.

Yenching Scholars fought against the howling winds with steaming hot bubble teas, spicy Sichuan-style hotpots, and heat from burning their fat and calories.

Over the entire week, the Scholars kept updating their sports status in several sporting activities: jump rope, jumping jack, yoga, running, squat, and freestyle dancing.

The cold winter was fenced off by the Scholars’ enthusiasm for sports and their heartfelt joy in the event.

Let’s join them now.


Boundaries of time and space were broken in the online arena where our Scholars joined and had joy from every corner of the world.

This year’s online sports event was organized by our six Residential Advisors (RAs) from the 2021 Cohort – Jack Allen (UK), Sarah Brooker (USA), Mu Boyang (China), Daniel Tafelski (Germany), Bella Tseeva (Russia), and Zhang Jiayu (China). They were joined by more than 90 YCA Scholars who engaged in the five sports categories: Steps/Running, Squats/Sit-ups, Jumping Jacks/Jump Rope, Yoga, and Freestyle. Endurance and perseverance were challenged and tested, and Scholars also produced brilliant ideas for the freestyle activities, who enjoyed the experience and inspired and encouraged one another.


Katie Chua (USA) won first place in Steps/Running with 133,624 steps; Arturo Palacios (Mexico) was the first runner-up, and Jasper Abrahams (Belgium) came third.

Katie Chua (USA): This event brought us closer to one another. Steps is a friendly competition. Luckily, the students already on campus relished and took advantage of our trip to the Great Wall, night jogging, and morning jogging to increase our chances of winning the step count challenge. When I followed up YCA Olympics, I had good rest in my busy studies and felt rejuvenated.


Kathy Song (USA) was the “Queen” of this event with a record of 435 sit-ups/squats. Wang Shuyun (China) came second, and Jacob Bull (Germany) was the second runner-up.

Jae Young Lee (South Korea): My classmates and I met every evening in the corridor of our Shaoyuan dormitory and played squats and jumping jacks. We had four at first. Later, our number increased as students from other classes joined us. We counted in Chinese and Spanish. Of course, we felt a little embarrassed when other students passed by, looking at us working out and sometimes shaking as our muscles contracted. But we enjoyed the small happiness. I’m happy I participated in the event with other Scholars at YCA.

Jumping Jacks/Jump Rope

Kathy Min (USA) took the crown with 1,320 jumping jacks, with Emma Ferguson (USA) in second place and Jacqueline Gu (USA) in third. Emma and Jacqueline even did the two-person-one-rope trick in an admiring performance.

Kathy Min (USA): I was in quarantine at the time, and it was great to have YCA Olympics. I did sport every day. Jump rope was a long-time-no-see game for me; I felt I was in the good old days again. The good thing is that I brought my rope with me to China. How wise I am! My academic work and the sports event filled my time during quarantine. It was great to see what my fellow students do in YCA Olympics, and it was fun to challenge.

Emma Ferguson (USA)/Jacqueline Gu (USA): It was nice to see that everyone kept up with others for this YCA Olympics in their own ways. YCA Olympics was on the daily to-do list; the Academy did a good job on this. And it was great fun to do it with friends. We did sit-ups to music, and we did squats together with others. Our creativity was tapped, and we built a good team.


Yang Ruoting and Yan Jing from China practiced yoga every day, showcasing the elegance of the sport.

Yang Ruoting (China): I enjoyed practicing yoga with my fellow students. It was interesting to have non-competitive yoga as an event in YCA Olympics. Yoga is a sport for the body and the mind. I want to keep on practicing it.


In the Freestyle event, we saw various sports, including traditional ones like basketball and badminton, and others like roller-skating, surf-skating, kickboxing, and high-end golf. We had so many sportsters at YCA!


Scholars kept posting their sports videos during the event week. Their enthusiasm for sports and life warmed this winter.

Six RAs from the 2021 Cohort worked hard on this sports event. Together they organized this year’s YCA Olympics across different time zones.

Let’s work out for a solid physique to fend off coldness and enjoy the days of youth. Sports go first for a fully developed individual. Let’s do sports, everybody!

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