OLYMPICS / Most Viewed

Embracing a wrong interpretation
By Raymond Zhou
China Daily Staff Writer
Updated: 2008-08-31 15:22


Last Sunday night at the closing ceremony of the Beijing Olympics, among all the celebrations, Yao Ming was seen hugging a female athlete.

Yao Ming of China gives Basketball player Lauren Jackson of Australia a hug during the Closing Ceremony for the 2008 Beijing Olympics in the National Stadium. [Agencies] 

I blurted out: "China's online sleuths are going to flush out the identity of this woman, and she's going to create a big wave in China."

A big-time blogger happened to be near me, and he posted my remarks in his blog. Now, we all know that woman was Lauren Jackson, an Australian basketball player who is currently with the Seattle Storm of the WNBA and the Australian National Team, The Opals.

I don't know why I said what I said, but I guess I had a hunch about this kind of thing - the misinterpretation of cultural incidents. What appeared to be a token of friendliness between two acquaintances or friends has triggered a spate of tall tales.

Soon after the embrace in the Bird's Nest, reports emerged claiming that Lauren Jackson, or LJ, is much more than a friend of Yao's. Obviously she initiated the hug, and Yao reciprocated with slight hesitation. From this, the legion of Chinese Sherlock Holmes have concluded that LJ used to have a fling with Yao, but Yao, faithful to his wife, Ye Li, turned her down.

I don't know how much truth there is in that. But it doesn't seem to be corroborated by the people involved. That, however, doesn't prevent the hug from being the runaway fun story from an otherwise predictable sporting event.

If you don't believe what I've said, here's the final proof - a rewritten lyric set to the tune of the Beijing Olympics theme song:

Yao Ming: (helplessly) Me and Li / Heart to heart / Have got marriage license / Stop dreaming / Don't carry on / For I'll be faithful. / Go away, Lauren / Let go of my hand / You and me / Are impossible / Go find someone else.

LJ: (joyfully) Yao near me / And hugged me / Won't part with me. / Winds may blow / Blow them apart / And he'll hug me alone. / Come on, Big Yao / Give me your hand.

Chorus: Yao near me / And hugged me / Dazed over me / You love me / And hugged me / Now in dream of me.

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