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Gold medal at home renews China's undying Olympic dream
11:18, August 10, 2008

When Chinese shooter Pang Wei mounted the champion podium, the 22-year-old Olympic debutant was greeted with cheers and thunderous applauses.

Children sang the national anthem loudly with their sweet voices.

Young people, holding a national flag, shouted together spontaneously "China, move on" after the awarding ceremony.

The reticent boy from Hebei province just won a gold medal in men's 10-meter air pistol event on Saturday afternoon with absolute advantage.

His victory was reminiscent of the one 28 years ago, when Xu Haifeng made history by shooting down the first-ever Olympic gold medal in Los Angeles, also in pistol event.

However, few people were fortunate enough to watch the smile of the 27-year-old champion in red-and-yellow sports wear, because at that time, even black-and-white televisions were considered household luxury and China's annual output of television was just 9.96 million. News of Xu's victory at that time travelled by loudspeakers to plants, to schools and to the fields.

Even fewer people know that local Olympic committee hadn't got enough Chinese national flags as Xu's teammate Wang Yifu, who is now head coach of the Chinese shooting squad, nabbed the bronze. Reality version of the Hollywood blockbuster Speed was played in the streets -- a motorcycle was racing to find another flag.

In fact, Olympics is a dream cherished by Chinese people over the century. It takes a long process to become clearer.

Maybe one has heard of the courage of Liu Changchun, the first Chinese and lonely warrior to take part in the sports gala.

The sprinter strode into Olympic arena in Los Angeles at about 2 p.m. July 30, 1932, after a 25-day voyage from the Xingguang dock in Shanghai, where thousands gathered to bid him farewell.

Maybe some knows the pole of Fu Baolu, a Chinese athlete in pole vault event to participate in the Berlin Olympics in 1936.

Couldn't afford a bamboo pole, the 22-year-old national record holder had to borrow one from a Japanese jumper for competition. The Chinese team, composed of 69 members, performed to make a living in Southeast Asia on their way to the Games.

And the score of Wu Chuanyu, the first Chinese athlete competing in Olympics after Liberation.

China didn't receive the invitation of the Helsinki Olympics in 1952, until when it was just about hours before the opening ceremony. When the Chinese 40-member team arrived, many events were finished. Wu managed to compete in men's 100-meter backstroke, although his score, one minute and 12.3 seconds, failed to ensure the swimmer, who later became China's first world champion, any medal.

And the hat of Deng Xiaoping, which carried the symbol of Olympics.

Wearing it, the 86-year-old late Chairman inspected the Asian Games Village in 1990 and inscribed name for the national Olympics sports center, before asking sports officials "when are you ready to apply for hosting the Olympics?"

They were discouraged on the early morning of September 24 1993, when the final result of 2000 Olympic host city rolled off the lips of Juan Antonio Samaranch, then President of the International Olympic Committee (IOC). China's first bidding for hosting the Olympics failed with a narrow disadvantage of just two votes less.

They anxiously waited on Beijing's Tian'anmen Square at the summer night of July 13 2000, again for the gray-haired IOC President to answer the second knock of world's most populous nation at the Olympic gate. The crowd broke into hilarious celebration at the good news, and pictures of ecstatic people carrying national flags stormed front page of almost all newspapers' extra editions.

In 1908, the Tianjin Youth magazine posed three questions to all Chinese people: When will China send athletes go to the Olympics? When will Chinese athletes win a gold medal? When will China bring the Olympic Games to its own soil?

A hundred years later, when the spectacular opening ceremony was held in the "bird nest", the last one of the three questions was answered.

But that's not enough.

Did we remember to give applause not only to those who made their names on the global arena, but those who dreamed and tried, although finally failed? Maybe they couldn't leave any traces on the long scroll of sports history, but their sweat, their tears and their shouts also deserve our utmost respect.

Could we carry on the good habits we developed before the Olympics -- saving energy, protecting environment, be polite, no queue-jumping...Olympics is the carnival of ourselves, and these efforts should be done not as showing off, but for our own sake.

Don't forget the lesson we learnt from overseas torch relay. Different voices still exist given China's hiking economy and rising International status. But may the spirit of Olympic remind us all the time to let peace and friendship prevail.

Always remember the charity journey of Olympic flame after the massive earthquake, remember the smile of the boy saved from quake debris who appeared at the opening ceremony. Even after the flame of Beijing Olympics extinguished, the love it brought forth should be passed on.

The Olympic dream has been carried by generations of Chinese. It survived hardships and despair.

The Beijing Olympics may be a climax.

But after that, it should also live on.

Source: Xinhua

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