Saturday, July 28, 2012

And the First Gold Medal Goes to.... China!!!

China has taken an early lead in her bid to defend the top position in the Summer Olympics medal table which they reached four years ago. The 23 year old shooter Yi Siling "shot straight into the history books" as she beat Poland's Sylwia Bogacka narrowly to clinch the gold medal in the Women's 10m air rifle event. A fellow Chinese, Yu Dan, came third in the event.

It was another shooter, Xu Haifeng, who shot straight into the history books by winning the Men's 50m pistol event at the 1984 Los Angeles Summer Olympics. It was the first gold medal in that edition of the Olympic Games and was also the first gold medal won by a Chinese from either the Republic of China (ROC) or the People's Republic of China (PRC). In that event also, the bronze medal was won by a Chinese, Wang Yifu.

The ROC, had taken part in Olympic Games in 1932, 1936 and 1948. With two Chinas existing from 1949, the International Olympic Committee permitted both Chinas to compete in the Helsinki Games in 1952. While the PRC participated, the ROC boycotted the games. However, the PRC did not win any medals. What became the two Chinas conflict was not resolved until 1979 and the PRC participated in the 1984 Summer Olympic Games after a 32 year absence.

It was fitting that a Chinese first won an Olympic gold in the same city where a Chinese competed for the first time in the Games. With 15 gold medals, China was ranked 4th in the medal list in the 1984 Summer Olympics. Their tally was amply helped by Li Ning, the "Prince of Gymnastics" who won six medals including three golds. It was this same Li Ning who came "flying through the air" to light the Olympic cauldron at Beijing in 2008.

With the USSR and her allies participating in the Olympics after the boycott of 1984, Chinese rank went down to the 11th place with just 5 gold medals in the 1988 Summer Olympics in Seoul. However, they returned to the 4th place in 1992 and retained it in Atlanta four years later. From 2000, they improved their rank one place per an Olympic Games. The Chinese reached the third place with 28 gold medals and 51 medals overall in 2000. Four years later, they were ranked second with 32 golds and 63 medals overall. With 51 gold medals, China led the medals table in 2008 when they hosted the Summer Olympics.

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