TRANSLATION | Eugenia Yang
In the age of seventeen, Annie Huang attended the women’s 49 kg competition at the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio. Unfortunately, five years later, she lost her qualification when competing for the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo. “Never disappoint ourselves at the golden age.” With her life taking a full 180, Annie decided to start her own family and embark on a completely different life journey.
In a Split Second
After losing her spot to compete in the 2020 Summer Olympics, Annie announced with no warning on her social media last year that she was getting married with Wei-Jie Jiang, who’s also a Taekwondo athlete. “We have been in a long distance relationship. A distance that doesn’t mean a THSR trip, but a flight between two cities. Although he always uses our seven year age gap against me, I’m still very thankful that he guided the way for me when I was lost. Lastly, I just want to say: we’re married,” she wrote on her social media, along with a picture of the wedding rings and updated identification. This efficient decision is just like Annie’s personality, a declaration of completing another stage in life.
Perhaps it is true that after retiring, most athletes go from players to becoming coaches in their career. Having treated the 2020 Summer Olympics as her last “fight,” Annie continues to keep trying in order to become her better self. “I want to keep doing what I like to do.” After getting married, she is now a graduate student at Fu Jen Catholic University studying physical education. Since the university coach had wanted her to represent her school to participate in the Chinese Taipei University Sports competition, she decided to treat Taekwondo as a daily exercise and attend the games with a happy heart. After relieving the pressure of being an Olympic athlete, Annie simply wishes to put on her dobok and enjoy the game. Going through an emotional transformation that is hard to describe with words, she said her short term goal at the moment is to graduate from Fu Jen and accompany her son as he slowly grows up.
Stepping into marriage in her mid-twenties, Annie believes there are no special philosophies or guidelines when it comes to marriage. “We’ve been married for over a year now and we are both still learning. After all, dating and being married are two completely different matters.” Due to the pandemic, our interview was conducted online. Although I wasn’t able to directly feel her emotions, it wasn’t hard to imagine the way Annie’s eyes sparkled with happiness as she shared with me all the delightful moments. “Now that we have our own home, it is important that we understand each other fully and that we are able to connect and care for one another as well.” Some may believe that each living being has his or her own path to follow, but to Annie, marriage is the beginning of a brand new life journey as everything starts from the basics again. It is true that her family expressed their doubts about whether or not they were ready to take the next step. However, in Annie’s heart she knew it was the right choice. “We saw each other as family even before we got married.” Now, even though her husband occasionally annoys her with his jokes and fooling around, it is undeniable that he has become an irreplaceable part of her life.
Starting from the Heart
In Annie’s life, there are no regrets. For her, she has to try everything before she knows whether she likes it or not because every experience in life must have its meaning. Reflecting on this past year, she admits that she is not entirely satisfied with her current lifestyle. There is still so much more waiting for her to explore. “For now, I just want to focus on graduate school. After that, I want to learn baking and maybe even open up my own studio. At the same time, I’ll get to spend time with my husband and kid, that’s all I ask for.” As if in conversation with her thirty-year-old self, Annie manifests this heartfelt purity. Even as we face the fearful unknown, we still need to gather our strength to power through and continue the journey for ourselves, our loved ones and our kids.