SINGAPORE -- U.S. modern pentathlete Anna Olesinski (Roswell, N.M.) followed up her fourth place individual finish by taking sixth in the Mixed Relay with Jiahao Han of China Tuesday afternoon at the Singapore Sports School. The athletes were separated by a language barrier as big as the Great Wall.
“It was really tough because he doesn’t speak English and I don’t speak Chinese,” Olesinski said. “So we barely talked but we still got along fine.”
The two high-fived after the race. They couldn’t figure out any other hand signals, Olesinski said. She hoped for a medal because Han won the 2010 Youth A World Championships in Sweden.
“It went pretty well, I think I did good except for my last shooting, I did really bad in that,” Olesinski said. “I fell behind, but I caught up in my second run, and I got us into third. And he did good also, but his shooting was the same as mine, so we fell behind.”
Olesinski’s coach and father, Jan, finds it tough to replicate an international competition like this, living in New Mexico.
“It was great competition,” Jan Olesinski said. “The Youth Olympics is a great event for kids, for athletes. Mostly young athletes, it gives them motivation, gives them experience.”
Han said they would have been able to motivate each other in a common language but he still left satisfied with the Mixed Relay event.