At a post-game media session in Beijing last Sunday, the Canadian-born goalie of China’s women’s Olympic ice hockey team was barred from speaking English.
After the home team’s shootout win over Japan, media members gathered at Wukesong Sports Centre to quiz the players.
Before a reporter inquired if she could take questions in English, Zhou Jiaying, also known as Kimberly Newell, answered several questions in Mandarin.
“She’s not allowed to speak English,” an interpreter said on her behalf, per Reuters. “I’ll try to answer for her.”
Zhou Jiaying is a name she adopted for the Olympics. “Jia” means “nice, warm, and beautiful,” which is taken in part from her Chinese-born mother’s side of the family.
The 26-year-old is fluent in English, Mandarin, and French on her official Olympic bio page.
Despite being primarily regarded as one of the finest goaltenders in the event, Zhou started three of China’s four games in the Olympic tournament. Still, the host nation failed to advance to the quarterfinals.
Zhou Jiaying is one of the numerous foreign-born athletes who have represented China despite not having Chinese citizenship or spending much time there.
She spent most of her junior career with the Canadian national team. Still, she was allowed to represent China in Beijing by joining the KRS Vanke Rays of the Zhenskaya Hockey League.
Zhou excelled at Princeton during her NCAA career, where she was voted first-team All-Ivy League her senior year. She also was nominated to the tournament all-star squad after winning a gold medal with Canada at the 2013 International Ice Hockey Federation U18 World Championships.