BEIJING (Reuters) – Ty Schultz, whose Beijing Olympics ended after four losses playing for China’s men’s ice hockey team, was nonetheless able to grasp an opportunity his grandmother could not due to the country’s boycott of the 1956 Melbourne Games.
Born in Canada to a German father and Chinese mother and listed on the China team sheet as Zheng Enlai, Schultz is the grandson of high jumper Zheng Fengrong, who in 1957 was the first Chinese woman to break a world record.
Schultz, 24, whose career has been beset by injuries, was among 15 foreign-born players on a China team whose tournament ended in a 7-2 loss to Canada late on Tuesday.
He has spoken with his grandparents, who live in Beijing, every day during the Olympics. His grandmother, now 84, came to one game.
“She saw us play that game against Germany, so that was pretty awesome. That was one of our better ones,” Schultz said of winless China’s best result in Beijing, a 3-2 defeat.
Schultz is not the family’s first Chinese Olympian – his sister Nina Schultz competed in the heptathlon as Zheng Ninali during last summer’s Tokyo Games, where she finished 10th, coached by their grandfather Duan Qiyan.
“It’s starting to feel a bit like a family business,” Schultz said after the China team were eliminated by Canada.
“It’s amazing that me and my sister can kind of put on the Chinese jersey and go in their place almost, realise that Olympic dream for both of them and ourselves,” he said referring to his grandparents.
China, who rank 32nd in men’s ice hockey, qualified for the 12-team tournament as host, and Schultz said he hoped the team’s presence in Beijing helps grow the game in the country.
“All the exposure we had during the Olympics was good, despite the losses – positive for ice hockey in China,” he said.
(Reporting by Tony Munroe; Editing by Ken Ferris)