|Help | Sitemap | Archive | Advanced Search | Mirror in USA|
|Voice of Readers|
|China At a Glance|
|Constitution of the PRC|
|State Organs of the PRC|
|CPC and State Leaders|
|Chinese President Jiang Zemin|
|White Papers of Chinese Government|
|Selected Works of Deng Xiaoping|
|English Websites in China|
|Monday, December 25, 2000, updated at 17:59(GMT+8)|
Yearender: China Reap Golden Olympics on the Back of Strong SportsBy making the most of what they excel, China reaped an unprecedented haul of Olympic gold medals at the Sydney Games and emerged behind the usual leaders the United States and Russia as the world's No. 3 sports power -- on paper.
The Chinese finished third on the final medals table after lingering at the second spot for quite a while, and their 28 golds a dramatic improvement over the 16 won in both Atlanta and Barcelona, were beyond their wildest dreams.
The new sporting juggernaut built their success on their forte of disciplines but failed to make any impact beyond. Five diving golds. The same amount in weightlifting. Four table tennis golds. Four out of five badminton golds. Three in shooting. As many as in gymnastics. The six sports in which China have been traditionally strong provided the bulk of their gold harvest in Sydney.
"We won the golds we should have and also won golds we hadn't expected," said Wu Shouzhang, secretary general of the Chinese Olympic delegation. "For Chinese badminton, two golds wouldn't have been bad. But four golds out of five-that was a performance above our level," he said.
China's dominance was most noticeable in table tennis, where Chinese paddlers not only took all four gold medals, repeating the sweep from Atlanta, but won eight of the 12 medals on offer.
After three all-Chinese finals in the men's doubles, women's singles and doubles, former world champion Kong Linghui downed Swedish veteran Jan-Ove Waldner in a five-set thriller for the most-cherished men's singles crown.
In the game of badminton, where China, Indonesia, South Korea and Denmark were supposed to split honors, the Chinese shuttlers played beyond themselves, only leaving the mixed doubles title for their arch rivals Indonesia. This was a marked improvement from what they'd brought home from Atlanta.
The 22-year-old Ji Xinpeng epitomized how China maintained the status in their specialty territory. By adding new blood to oil the wheels, the impressive sporting machine kept turning out gold.
The seven-seeded giant-killer knocked out the world's top two players Taufik Hidayat of Indonesia and Denmark's Peter Gade en route to the men's singles final. He eventually upset Indonesian veteran Hendrawan for the prestigious title.
Diving has been a constant gold contributor for China over the last three Olympics, and this time it was only getting better.
After a shaky start in the three opening disciplines, the Chinese divers swept all the others to collect a record sum of five gold and five silver medals from eight categories.
Not beyond any expectation, China fielded an out-and-out "Dream Team" for the sport in Sydney. Among the members were four-time Olympian Xiong Ni, who joined Greg Louganis as the only divers to have retained the men's springboard title, and legendary Fu
Mingxia, who, in her third consecutive Olympic journey, became the third diver in history ever to have won four Olympic gold medals.
The Chinese squad lived up to their billing and left their opponents gasping for breath.
Weightlifting was the only other sport in which China snapped five golds. The Olympic debut of women's weightlifting, which the Chinese strongwomen have dominated for long, was a great blessing for China.
The Chinese female Hercules swept titles in all the four categories they participated in and the only obstacle to China winning more medals in women's weightlifting was a rule which limits any participating team to enter no more than four lifters in the seven divisions.
The sharpshooters and gymnasts played big parts too in China's stunning success at Sydney.
Tao Luna gave China the first gold medal at the Games in the women's 10 meter air pistol, which served as an indispensable morale-boost for the Chinese who were in a gold medal drought two days after the Games opened.
Atlanta Olympic champion Yang Ling and little-known Cai Yalin registered one win each to make China the biggest winner in shooting with a record three golds, two silvers and three bronzes.
Gymnastics has been profitable since the 1984 Olympics, where China bagged home five golds with most Eastern European countries joining in a Soviet-led boycott of the G Los Angeles Games. At Sydney, the Chinese gymnasts turned in their best showing from a non-boycotted Olympics. The men's squad, five-time world champions, finally landed the elusive team title they had long craved, and the individual successes of Liu Xuan in balance beam and Li Xiaopeng in parallel bars made the Sydney trip a full circle for the Chinese sporting artists.
However, outside the areas of their traditional strength, the Chinese Olympic outfit had been mediocre. Only one medal, a gold in the women's 20km walk, came from the Olympics marquee event of track and field. China's once-mighty swimmers came home without a medal.
"We are still far behind others in track and field and swimming," Chinese delegation spokeswoman He Huixian admitted.
Compared to the fact that the United States had their gold come in 14 sports, only nine contributed to China's gold tally, which served notice that the country lacked breadth in various sporting events.
Jack of all trades, and Master of some. That's what the United States and Russia are like now. Not until so can China be fully justified as a genuine sports superpower.
In This Section
|Copyright by People's Daily Online, all rights reserved||| Mirror in U.S. | Mirror in Japan | Mirror in Edu-Net | Mirror in Tech-Net ||