Curtain fell on Tokyo Olympics on August 8 after over half a month of excitement. The Chinese delegation concluded its journey with 38 gold, 32 silver, and 18 bronze medals, ranking second in the medal list. 37 Jiangsu athletes contributed two gold, five silver, and two bronze medals with their outstanding performance in a number of events such as swimming, gymnastics, shooting, and Taekwondo.
China’s rising butterfly queen Zhang Yufei, who claimed silver in women’s 100m butterfly final in July 26 with a slight gap of 0.05 seconds with gold medalist Maggie MacNeil of Canada, stormed to win the 200m butterfly final with an Olympic-record time of 2:03.86 on July 29. Only 80 minutes after winning the first gold medal for Jiangsu athletes, she snatched a second one with her teammates Yang Junxuan, Tang Muhan, and Li Bingjie in 4×200m freestyle relay final with a world-record time of 7:40.33. On July 31, she bagged another silver medal with her teammates Xu Jiayu, Yan Zibei, and Yang Junxuan in the mixed 4×100m medley relay final.
Many teenage athletes from Jiangsu impressed the world with their outstanding performance in Tokyo’s competing ground. 16-year-old prodigy Sheng Lihao, the youngest among all Jiangsu athletes, won silver in the men’s 10m air rifle final with a score of 250.9 points.
Sunwei, a gymnast born in 1995, participated all six events in the men’s team final, contributing greatly to the hard-won bronze medal. On July 28, he completed the all-round final despite his injuries and took fourth place. He Bingjiao, a 24-year-olf badminton player, ranked among the top four after defeating her strong opponent Okuhara Nozomi in the quarter-finals of women’s singles badminton. On August 8, the 20-year-old gymnast Hao Ting and her teammates finished their performance with a score of 84.55 in rhythmic gymnastics’ team final, ranking fourth. These Olympic first-timers from Jiangsu have interpreted the power of youth with their strength and mettle.
Many names already familiar to Jiangsu audience appeared again in Tokyo Olympic Games, Wu Jingyu, Xu Anqi, Xue Chen, Guo Li, Liang Xinping, You Hao, Zhao Shuai, Gao Yang, Wang Jianan, Zhang Changning, Gong Xiangyu, names that have become symbol of perseverance despite injuries and growing age.
Wu Jingyu, who is now 34 years old, once announced her retirement after her defeat in the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, but made a strong return to international competition in 2019. This time in Tokyo, the four-time Olympian accepted her defeat in the taekwondo quarter-final bout with peace after losing to the Spanish player, “I have done the best I can. It is time for me to say goodbye and I am OK with that.” Zhao Shuai, gold medalist of 2016 Rio Olympics, has served as the one of China’s flag bearers at the opening ceremony. A semifinal 25:33 defeat to Britain’s Bradly Sinden has scuppered his gold-medal hopes. But Zhao bounced back despite injuries to beat South Korea’s Lee Daehoon and claim a bronze, just as well worthy of our hearty congratulations.
29-year-old Xu Anqi joined the Chinese women’s epee squad with Sun Yiwen, Lin Sheng, and Zhu Mingye for team event. She stood in for her injured teammate Sun Yiwen in both the semifinals and final of team epee but missed the bronze medal by two points. Despite the team’s slightly disappointing fourth-place finish this time around, this three-time Olympian who fought till the last minute will always be the pride of Jiangsu.
On August 2, You Hao finished second in the men’s rings final with a 15.300. On the next day, he won the fourth place in the parallel bars final. Despite pains and injuries, this 29-year-old veteran finished strong what might well have been his last Olympics with never-give-up spirit. In the synchronized swimming team final, the Chinese team with Guo Li and Liang Xinping, runners-ups of Rio Olympics, secured silver with 193.5310 points.
After returning from Tokyo, most of these athletes will participate in the 14th National Games in September. We look forward to great news from both our veterans and youngsters as they continue to pursue their better selves with outstanding performance.