China is a machine for making Olympic athletes
China leads the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games gold-medal table with 36 gold metals.
Fourteen-year-old Chinese diver, Quan Hongchan, is one of the many stars to emerge from the Olympic Games in Tokyo. The young athlete, who just had her birthday on March 28, completed three perfect dives out of five attempts.
The short diver took first place in her first try at the Olympics, with an overall score of 466.20. In second place was her teammate, Yuxi Chen, with a total of 425.40 and in third was Australia's Melissa Wu with a score of 371.40.
According to Chinese media, Quan started swimming when she was only seven years old. In October 2020, her name began to be more recognized within the different international competitions and she has now taken all the honors at Tokyo 2020.
Her performance is no coincidence, especially in diving, since the Asian giant has already won 10 medals between the men's and women's teams. The only shortcoming came in the men's 10-meter synchronized dive, where a British duo won and China came second. In total, Chinese athletes won six gold and four silver medals in diving competitions in Tokyo.
On the other side of China's Olympic story are the athletes who fail to achieve the highest Olympic recognition, as is the case of the mixed doubles table tennis team, which made an appearance on public television apologizing to the country after 'only' winning the silver medal. Player Liu Shiwen couldn't hold back tears and said she was sorry to "fail the team" between repeated apologies.
Messages leveled against the players have included: “They have failed the whole nation,” and others that supported the notion those who did not get the gold were “unpatriotic.”
There were so many hateful messages that the Chinese government had to use its censorship powers to remove many of the comments that attacked them. In the end, 33 users were sanctioned from using Weibo, the Chinese Twitter, for 180 days.
This year, China sent the largest delegation in history to Tokyo, comprised of 413 athletes.
"We must firmly guarantee that we will win the gold medal first," said the president of the Chinese Olympic Committee, Gou Zhongwen, when leaving for Japan.
Every year, China recruits thousands of children to train full-time in one of the 2,000 sports schools currently run by the government.
As a New York Times report explains, to maximize the gold medal harvest, Beijing has focused on less prominent sports that offer multiple medal options and are underfunded in other countries. Almost 75% of the Olympic golds won by China since 1984 were concentrated in six sports: table tennis, shooting, diving, badminton, gymnastics and weightlifting.