Changing China

Giant on the move

It ain’t Confucius’s China any more…

August 14, 2008


He knew it the second he landed.

Gymnast Yang Wei knew that mathematically, emotionally, historically and rightfully the men’s all-around Olympic title was his – and the overwhelmingly partisan home-town crowd knew it too.

There was no need for Yang or for his supporters to wait the seemingly interminable minutes for the judges to review his performance on the horizontal bar – as the final participant in the sixth and final rotation of the championship, his lead was so strong that it would have taken a disaster to knock him out of first.

And there had been no disaster.

So Yang played to the crowd.

He flexed his bulging muscles. He raised his arms in triumph. He draped himself in China’s flag. He played cheerleader, waving his arms to encourage the crowd’s roars.

And all this well before the judges had announced their decision.

China’s historical sage Confucius might have been appalled.

In XIII:27 of The Analects it is written — “The Master said: The firm, the enduring, the simple, and the modest are near to virtue.”

Of course, in XIV:29 it adds: “The Master said: The superior man is modest in his speech, but exceeds in his actions.”

And with a 2.6 point win over the Silver medallist, Japan’s Kohei Uchimura, and with his win wiping out eight years of personal frustration, Yang, only the second Chinese man to capture the all around title at the Olympics, knew his actions had indeed exceeded.

He knew it. The crowd knew it. And at long last, the judges announced it.


Photos REUTERS/Dylan Martinez


Congratulations, Yang Wei!

Posted by Shirley | Report as abusive

Incredible performance … and it’s taken China up to 20 gold medals — 10 ahead of the U.S. That lead won’t last too long when the athletics starts but for now it’s quite an achievement.

Posted by Kevin Fylan | Report as abusive

Badminton, table tennis, more gymnastics, more diving… Chinese are going to get more gold medals…

Posted by Bill | Report as abusive

Right pic you inserted. Worth thousand words. I see Yang is saying he can hear your advice about humble and Confucius’s teaching. I’m sure he’ll check his reflection after the Gold metal ceremony.


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