By Xiao Yazhuo and Wang Jimin
BUENOS AIRES, Oct. 9 (Xinhua) -- In the newly-introduced breaking competition at the Buenos Aires 2018 Youth Olympic Games, Chinese dancer Shang Xiaoyu had only 10 minutes to deliver his performance in the B-boy event, but the 18-year-old knew very well what it meant for him.
"I was not a good student in junior high school, skipping classes and fighting with other students. My teacher would call my parents five times a week to tell them about my bad behavior," Shang said. "But when I started to learn breaking, everything changed. It taught me about respect."
Born in Jinzhou city in northeast China, Shang started to learn breaking, also widely known as break dancing, when he was 13. It was then that he realised what he wanted to do in life.
"For me, breaking is about love and peace, and respect is the way to fulfil that," he said. "You may see serious confrontation on the stage, but it is just for the battle. Once the battle is over, the confrontation is over."
There are a total of 24 top youth B-boys from all over the world who are competing at Buenos Aires 2018. Shang says that they are like one big family.
"Although there is a language barrier, we communicate by dancing, and 'love and peace' is our common belief."
In fact, like many B-boys in China, Shang had never thought that he would one day be an Olympian and dance in Buenos Aires, but it has become reality.
Shang still remembers the day he received the letter which said he had qualified for the Youth Olympic Games breaking events, as his father stared at it for a long time.
"He was a very strict person and seldom praised me when I was growing up, but in that moment I could tell that he was smiling."
Although Shang finished the tournament with no medal, having lost in the quarterfinals to Japanese breaker Shigekix, he still left the stage with a smile on his face.
"For me, the Youth Olympic Games is not only about the medals," Shang said. "I came as an athlete, and also a dancer. The most important thing is to give my everything on the world stage for youth breaker, and I did it."
But Shang's Olympic journey has not come to an end just yet. He will partner with French B-girl Srta. Carlota to compete in the mixed event which kicks off on Wednesday.
"I want to continue dancing until the day my body says no," Shang said. "I don't think I should be the best dancer in the world. In fact, for me there is no so-called 'best' in breaking. The rivals for me are not other dancers, but myself."
"Just be better than the person I was yesterday. That's enough," he said.