Meet Zhao Lina, goal keeper for the Chinese football team
Zhao incredibly competed at the recent Olympic Games so Miss FQ caught up with the athlete (who’s a total babe, FYI) to talk about her hometown, what drives her and her style.
What exactly is on your mind when you stand in front of the goal, preparing to defend your opponent’s penalty kick?
When I am in position to defend a penalty kick, my first thought is to observe the eye movements of my opponents before the kick begins. Where they look gives me hints as to where they will go when the ball is kicked, which helps me make quick judgments on which direction the ball may hit and where I need to go to block it.
How do you motivate yourself to get up everyday and continue training?
To be a part of the Olympics is every athlete’s dream. It symbolizes glory for each of us and our countries. We really strive our hardest to reach the highest, most elite level of athletics to prove our ability to ourselves and our countries. Getting there makes all the sweat and tears worth it.
What advice do you have for young athletes who strive to compete at the elite-level and for those who prepare to one day compete at the Olympic Games?
My advice to those training for the elite level is to keep your composure even when the situation is difficult or stressful and to not care too much about the result of each competition. The result of the game affects every player’s mood, but it’s very important to stay focused and calm. The most important thing is to focus on what skills you learn and gain from your daily and monthly training and how you will use them rather than think too much about the game when you’re playing.
Why did you choose football as your career?
Growing up, I didn’t have good grades in school. My goal turned to discovering something that I could do well. I tried playing football and discovered that when I really focused on my skills and training, I really enjoyed playing with and competing against my teammates. They challenged me to get better and better.
What is your earliest memory of playing football? Did anyone influence you to have a passion for the sports game?
I remember watching a group of people chasing a ball in the playground one day and thinking that they looked so content and happy. I knew I had to play. I had a lot of support from my friends and family once I decided to join the team, which was really important at the time because I was in such a rebellious teenager phase.
Growing up, when did you realize that you excelled at playing football? When do you really start to enjoy it?
As I played more and got better, I gradually noticed how much I cared about playing football and how much it meant to me. I got better and better the taller I grew.
Who is your idol now?
My idol is American goalkeeper Hope Solo.
Aside from your love of football, what are some of your other interests?
Aside from my huge love of football, I love to listen to rock music and play drums. I also like tattoos, writing and playing video games.
Can you tell us some things about you that people might not already know?
During games, I’m a calm, capable and steady keeper. But off the pitch, I’m a very different person. The real me is when I’m off pitch. I have a big sense of humor and I like to watch funny videos. I’m also not a very detail-oriented or careful person, which means I’m a little bit clumsy.
Do you think that your daily dressing style is similar to what you wear in the matches?
My style reflects my personality on the field: relaxed and calm, with a hint of focus, which is very close to what I wear off the field. I wear a lot of trendy but minimalistic and stylish clothes that make me feel comfortable throughout my day.
Can you share your secret for fall clothing styles with us?
My must-have item for fall is a great hoodie or jacket to stay in vogue and keep me warm as the winter cold sets in. It’s very temperate and warm where we practice, but the temperature changes a lot in the evenings. I definitely need the lightweight warmth as an extra layer that won’t weigh down my style and will pair seamlessly with my comfortable and stylish look.
What do you enjoy the most about the Nike Tech Pack?
I really like that Nike Tech Pack leaves a deep impression of sharpness and gives a unique feeling of beautiful power that incorporates well into any style.
Can you describe to your hometown? What makes you feel proud about your hometown？
I was born and raised in Shanghai. I love Shanghai because all of my family and friends are there.
Are there any special places you visit when you return home?
Yes! I love the milk tea in Shanghai – they taste so delicious and bring back lots of memories from my childhood.