"Last time I sell it for a living, but this time it's for 2008 Beijing
Olympics, and for those who cared about me," said Ai Dongmei, the retired
marathon champion said in a telepone interview with Xinhua on Sunday.
Ai plans to auction one of her most valuable medals in Beijing on August 9,
and all the money will be donated to the Olympic Star Fund. The fund was founded
by the Red Cross Society of China in April, dedicated to the well-being of
retired and physically-challenged athletes as well as potential Olympic stars.
Ai said that she was always grateful to the Olympic Star Fund, since having
heard of her predicament, they immediately donated 5,000 RMB to help her out.
The 1999 Beijing Marathon winner Ai sued her former coach Wang Dexian in
September last year, seeking 160,000 RMB (21,000 U.S. dollars) as compensation
for her injuries incurred during training. Ai also accused him of exploiting her
In order to fund the case, Ai put all her 19 medals up for sale on line,
making headlines in April.
She has been selling children's clothes on streets to make hard living.
However, for the sake of upcoming Beijing Olympics and the greater good,
according to Ai, she finally gave up the peddling and withdrew all the charges
over Wang instead with an out-of-court settlement in mid-June.
"As a Chinese sportswoman, it is an obligation to make our endeavor to
Beijing Olympics. Fiddling it may be from individual, but with all the support
of whole society, it will be immense. I am better off now, and I ought to pay
back," said Ai.
Ai will have a surgery on her deformed feet resulted from excessive training
in Beijing on July 30.