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Olympics enchant, please Chinese
By Zhu Yuzi (China Daily)
Updated: 2004-08-28 00:08

The Olympics in Athens have given Chinese people more than a chance to watch the finest athletes in the world, they have created a new mythology of fulfilled dreams, shattered hopes and renewed expectations.

As the British Guardian reported, "Hilarity has spread through the Divine Land, and it is occasionally seen in China that a big event can please the population of 1.3 billion people like that."

"Really exciting!" Zeng Li, a college student in Beijing, told China Daily, failing to find more suitable words for here feelings during past two weeks.

Egg sculptor Pu Derong puts the finishing touches on his work on a portrait of diver Guo Jingjing, who won China's 25th gold medal at the Athens Olympic Games. The portrait was done on an eggshell. Pu, a native of Cangzhou, North China's Hebei Province, will depict all the Olympic gold medalists on eggshells. [newsphoto]

"My life has revolved around the Olympics since the Games started. Every day I stay up late at night to enjoy the events live. When I get up at 10:00 in the morning, I turn to the news and reviews on TV and newspaper immediately. After lunch, I digest previews of the coming games till the live show comes up in late afternoon," he said.

Zeng, has been an Olympic fan since the 1992 Barcelona Olympics.

"The biggest thing about Athens is the surprises that have me wondering all the time."

Right before the final of the women tennis doubles, Zeng talked with his friends on the phone wondering if the Chinese players Li Ting and Sun Tiantian could win.

"Could it be a miracle?" Zeng asked his friends.

He said he could feel his heart beating wildly each time the tennis ball bounced off the court.

In the end, the Chinese players won the gold.

"It is the best about the Olympics when the enjoyment of sport and national pride come together." Zeng said, still excited about the gold medal moment.

The win marked a breakthrough in China's tennis history and may help boost the popularity of the sport.

Li Zhi, mother of a four-year-old girl, said that she plans to send her daughter to learn to play tennis.

"I hope we can see more Chinese in single play and the first step is to enlarge the population of tennis players," she said.

The Olympics, with their theme of pushing athletes to reach higher, faster and stronger, motivates people to face challenges.

"If Tang Gonghong had not challenged herself with that weight, she would have lost the gold medal." Li Chuan, a 22-year-old from Tianjin, told China Daily.

Tang, a 25-year-old from the rural area of East China's Shandong Province, won gold by hoisting 182.5 kilograms in the women weight lifting final of over 75-kilo category.

Tang, even failed in a rushing try at 172.5 kilograms in the competition, but pushed herself to the limit to win the gold. She broke the world record by 7.5 kilograms.

"I am really moved by her unsophisticated manner that is quite different from those star players. You know, Tang was born in a poor family that is still in poverty now, her family borrowed money everywhere to put her into training." Li said.

With the spirit to challenge and a simple and pure goal to pursue victory, Tang not only won the gold medal in Athens, but also respect the world over.

Her rival, the silver-winning Jang Mi-ran, gave her credit.

"I really have a lot of respect for her."

"Besides the champion, people respect all the competitors who try their best in the Olympics. Although there is only one gold medal, but there are many more winners who won by participating in the Olympics, humanity's most grand ceremony of unity."

Fascinating the whole world, the Olympics create longings and expectations particularly among the Chinese.

"I'm longing for the 2008 Beijing Olympics so much," said Xia Ning, a 12-year-old girl from Beijing.

"It will be as good as Athens.No, better, because we have many people, and more people develop stronger power," Xia chuckled.

Pu Cunxin, a famous Chinese actor, expressed his hopes for the 2008 Olympics and all the people that will work towards them.

"The volunteers in Beijing should be categorized into two groups. One is made up of professional volunteers who will work for the players, coaches and officials, the other non-professionals include all our Beijing citizens, because we are the hosts we will try our best to help all visitors to the city."

According to the Beijing Youth Daily, the 2008 Beijing Olympics will create the city 1 million jobs and present onto the market commercial opportunities valued at up to 300 million yuan (US$36 million).

And the 2008 Olympics may push the annual growth of GDP in Beijing by 0.3 to 0.5 percentage points, said the Goldman Sachs Asset Management International.

Businesses are now searching for ways to get a piece of the pie, from multinational giants bidding for construction projects to small companies making Olympic souvenir.

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