Du Li's self-confidence, determination and resolve were once again on display yesterday, characteristics that have always endeared her to the people.
In a matter of four days she had turned defeat into victory.
Du, a 26-year-old from Shandong province, had been one of the most talked about athletes ahead of the Olympics as the favorite to win the first gold medal of the Games.
But she finished only fifth in the women's 10 m air rifle event, and the honor of "aoyun shoujin" - first Olympic gold - went to Katerina Emmons of the Czech Republic.
Du made amends yesterday.
She won the 50 m rifle 3 positions competition with a new Games record of 690.3 points.
People in her hometown of Yiyuan flocked to her parents home to congratulate them on their daughter's victory.
"Hundreds of people came to see us on hearing the good news. She had also turned their initial disappointment into joy," Du's mother, Qi Yuzhen, said.
Du took gold in the women's 10 m air rifle competition at the 2004 Olympics Athens.
Her defeat in this event especially came as a shock to the media that had made her the overwhelming favorite to win.
But Qi said she had never lost confidence in her daughter.
"We knew she would overcome it. She never lets defeat get her down," she said.
Du's victory yesterday had many holding their breath. She scored only 8.7 points with her first shot.
"She did very well after that, much to the relief of her supporters," Qi said.
"I am extremely proud of her. She gained prestige for the country," she said.
Du's intensive training for the Olympics has meant very little time spent at home.
"She has only returned home once or twice each year for two or three days at a time in the past four years.
"It was only in 2004 she spent the entire Spring Festival at home," Qi said.
Zhou Shibing, Du's first coach and the man responsible for her joining the national team, said he was proud of how she handled the pressure.
"With all the media hype and public attention, you can well imagine the pressure she was under," he said.
"Du has a way of adjusting to pressure, and it was there for all to see yesterday," Zhou said.
Source: China Daily