Team China didn’t take home as many Olympic medals as it had hoped at Rio Olympic Games. But Chinese athletes did display an enthusiasm and grit appreciated by their fans.
Chinese sports fans felt great elation and deep disappointment in equal measure over the past two weeks.
China’s table tennis team, a crack force that never let its fans down, swept the event once again, snatching all four gold medals. No surprise, in the eyes of the Chinese fans, the squad ought to win. After all, this is the national sport of China.
But sometimes, hope can be burdensome.
While the public previously seemed to place great emphasis on the country’s ranking in the medal table, that has all gone by the wayside in Brazil.
The country’s gymnastics team went into the Games in great form. But they definitely met their Waterloo in Rio, missing every single opportunity to claim victory for a variety of reasons. Without any gold medal, the team returned home with only two bronze medals – its worst haul since Los Angeles in 1984.
China’s He Zi received the shock of her life when teammate and boyfriend Qin Kai rushed up with a diamond ring during the medal ceremony.
Some felt a change in the rules and scoring system were to blame, others believe there are simply too many young athletes who just need more experience. But the Olympics is not all about winning. Chinese fans shifted their attention to the special personal stories. Swimmer Fu Yuanhui shined bright with her warm personality and honesty, even to the extent of talking about her periods, while Qin Kai proposed to fellow diver He Zi as she stepped off the Olympic podium.
This year’s Games had other great memories. After a 12-year wait, China’s women’s volleyball team defied the odds and early tournament form to come through and win gold for one of China’s all-time sporting legends. So as the dust settles in Rio, we can once again start afresh and look ahead to the next Summer Olympics in Tokyo in four years time.