(‘Sweat Makes Champions’ by Chinese photographer Tiejun Wang)
What is the Chinese dream? At one level, it is the dream of nation to become prosperous and great, a great dream of national rejuvenation. On a personal level, however, it is the dream of each and every Chinese to achieve personal success and prosperity.
A photo in China has captured a moment in the Chinese dream.
Each year, World Press Photo rewards amazing photographers for their contributions to the past year of visual journalism. This year, a photo titled “Sweat Makes Champions” by Chinese photographer Tiejun Wang won second prize in the Daily Life single pictures category of the contest.
The image “Sweat Makes Champions” is a single picture documenting an ordinary element in everyday life in China. The black-and-white image features four young gymnastic students at a school in Xuzhou, China, doing toe-pressure training for 30 minutes in the afternoon.
The photographer’s success, the ordinary yet interesting subjects of his picture, and the realistic title of the photograph all capture parts of the Chinese dream in action.
The dream of every photographer, such as Chinese photographer Tiejun Wang, is to capture great images that are cherished forever. The dream of every student, such as the four young gymnasts, is to aspire for greatness.
But greatness requires sacrifice and hard work.
The photographer and his subjects are symbols of how the Chinese dream is realized through hard work.
When Chinese President Xi Jinping delivered his speech in Davos at the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting 2017, he said China’s outstanding development achievements over the past decades “owe themselves to the hard work and perseverance of the Chinese people, a quality that has defined the Chinese nation for several thousand years.”
In his New Year speech in Beijing on December 31, 2016, President Xi said that “only hard work will make dreams come true.” Using a popular Chinese catchphrase, Xi said, “Roll up your sleeves and get to work!”
In other words, sweat makes champions, and what we are witnessing today in China and on the world stage is the hard work of China’s champions.