Sarah Lee ditches Rio disappointment and sets sights on Tokyo 2020 – if she can still cut it

Hong Kong star says she is proud of the role she played in uniting people during her Olympics campaign

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 18 August, 2016, 2:51pm
UPDATED : Thursday, 18 August, 2016, 10:49pm

Hong Kong’s cycling hero Sarah Lee Wai-sze has quickly put the disappointment of the Rio Olympics behind her and declared she will go to Tokyo in 2020.

Cruelly robbed of a chance to win a medal in her favourite keirin event because of a crash, Lee was downcast and disillusioned after being beaten by Kristina Vogel in the sprint.

But Lee, 29, discovered the passion still burns and she has unfinished business, believing she would have won silver at least in the keirin.

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“I want to go to the Olympics for a third time. I have such a hope,” she said.

But Lee has set a condition before deciding whether she competes in Tokyo – she wants to ensure she still has what it takes to win a medal.

“I will have to see if I really have a chance (in winning a medal). If I feel that I don’t have a chance, I would lose my direction.

“If that’s the case, I would rather do something else that I like. I need to have something in my life that I feel passionate about, that I don’t feel tired doing it,” she said.

She also said that if she felt that one day she lost her passion for cycling, it would be time to retire.

“But I am still passionate right now,” she said.

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“Before I came here (to Rio), I thought, ‘are some people crazy to enough to want to compete in the Olympics for four times?’ It was my second Olympics only and it was so tough I didn’t want to do it again.

“But after I competed my second Olympics, I felt that the second time was a lot different than the first time,” she said with fire in her eyes.

Lee said she could not be more proud of herself for achieving something else – uniting people from all walks of life in a divided city and driving more to care about sport.

“I spent a long time looking at the (social media) comments, people did not just tell me to cheer up. “They left me very long messages. Many people said that I have united the people of Hong Kong.

That’s something I have always wanted to do. I have always wanted to use sport to unite the people,” Lee said in Rio.

“I didn’t expect so many people to care about me. I am very surprised.”

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She stressed with a smile that it did not mean she was not a tough woman just because she shed tears at the Olympics.

Lee has been praised for her sportsmanship after the crash. Not only did she not blame Australian Anna Meares, she embraced her when she came up against the Australian cyclist again following the crash.

She said she had even planned to meet up with Meares before she left Rio, although it did not work out.

“I hope that we will get to know each other more. We have had a lot of fond memories together. I have known her for a long time. She’s a four-time Olympian and, in fact, her story has an impact on me,” Lee said of the 32-year-old Meares.