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Olympic champions: We' re not just "Gold Diggers"

07-24-2012 10:16 BJT Special Report:2012 London Olympic Games |

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Chinese athletes have shown great competitiveness since the country sent out its delegation to the games in 1984, reaping in gold, silver and bronze. But they have also been criticised for being too narrow sighted, with some saying the only goal for Olympians is medals. And their career ends once they retire. But some Olympic champions say the role of Chinese Olympians is transforming.

Splashing mud. Roaring engine. All part of an off-road driving challenge to cheer on the coming London Olympics. And the drivers? They are all Olympic Champions.

Yang Ling has taken home 2 gold medals in the men’s 10m running target in 2000 and 2004. But his sport was cancelled from the 2008 games on. Yang Ling was forced to turn his back on competition and become a coach. He is now an administrator in the Beijing Sports Bureau, and a racing fanatic.

Winning is in every athlete’s nature, he said, and bringing in medals for the country is still the predominant task.

Yang Ling, Olympic Champion shooter, said, "Who doesn’t want to stand on the highest medal podium? Not just the Chinese. Athletes in any other country would want to hear their national anthem and see their national flag rising in the medal ceremonies. But nowadays in China, we often tell the younger olympians not only to aim for gold, but also to enjoy this festival of sports."

Wang Yizhi said, "Chinese Athletes have attended 7 Olympic games and have brought back about 400 medals, including 163 gold medals. It’s a dream come true for those who have devoted most of their energies to the sport. But the medal podium is just a starting point for their life rather than a destination."

One that understands this best is Olympic Champion diver Sang Xue. She struck gold at the young age of 16, BUT soon decided to leave the sporting world for herself and her family. Retiring at an age of only 20, Sang Xue went to college, but quit after 2 years to pursue a dream she longed for even more -- performing arts.

She said her coach and the team tried to talk her out of the decision, but she stuck to her path. In her opinion, the system does respect personal choices.

Now in the deep-end of showbiz, Sang Xue has seen ups and downs. But she believes that the glory of an Olympic gold medal has brought about opportunities. She has since starred as the leading actress in major tv series. Her diving skill also made it into the spotlight at times.

Sang Xue, Olmpic Champion dive said, "I think I am demonstrating the Olympic spirit to the people working with me, in my acting or singing careers. This is not just competive sports, but a way of life -- persistence and devotion. So people will be tolerant and encouraging. They will give me more opportunites and let me pursue my dreams."

Major US publication Time magezine, once put a Chinese Olympian on its cover. An illustration to its feature piece "How China manufactures Olympic champions". This man is Olympic champion gymnast Yang Wei. He won muliple gold medals individually and with his team.

When asked about the western stereotype of Chinese athletes being gold winning machines, Yang Wei answered he and many other Olympians are the biggest benefiters from the country’s athletes training system. And the attitudes to the games are changing.

Yang Wei, Olympic Champion gymnast said, "Since my first Olympics in 2000, the concept of the game I was taught has been gradually changing. First it was only about winning gold medals, and then another concept took hold. This is a gathering of the top athletes in various sport from different countries. It’s like a huge party."

With less than 4 days to the big bash of the 2012 Olympics, the champions and the country are both looking forward to a productive and festive game.

Editor:Wang Xiaomei |Source: CNTV.CN

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