BEIJING - Chinese swimmers became the biggest winners of the 2012 CCTV (China Central Television) Sports Personality Awarding Ceremony as star swimmers Sun Yang and Ye Shiwen won the Best Athlete Awards at the National Stadium here on Saturday.
Sun, 21, and Ye, 16, have become two of the most famous swimmers in the world after each clinching two gold medals at the London Games.
Sun Yang wins the Best Athlete Awards at the 2012 CCTV (China Central Television) Sports Personality Awarding Ceremony in Beijing on Jan 19, 2013. [Photo/Xinhua]
"I'm happy to win the award," said Sun, who won the best male athlete of the year. "It is a breakthrough for me. I want to say thank you to my coach, my parents and all my supporters."
Sun swept two golds, one silver and one bronze in London. All of Sun's four Olympic medals are of historical significance for China.
The 400m freestyle victory over defending champion Park Tae Hwan made Sun the first Chinese male swimmer to win an Olympic gold. The silver from the 200m freestyle was the first Olympic medal for China in the event.
Sun took Team China from fifth to third in his final leg to bring the country the first Olympic relay medal in the men's 4X200 freestyle.
His emphatic win in the final day's 1,500m freestyle, his signature event, marked the first time that Chinese male swimmer set a new world record to claim an Olympic gold.
He also made history as the first Chinese male swimmer to win an Olympic gold medal at the London Games.
"I hope I can rewrite the world record next year," he said. "And my aim is to win the gold at the 2016 Olympic Games."
Ye beat the other four candidates to win the award, including sailing Olympic champion Xu Lijia, swimming Olympic champion Jiao Liuyang, diving Olympic champion Wu Minxia and shooting Olympic champion Yi Siling.
Ye is the most successful female swimmer in China this year. The young girl stunned the world with two individual medley golds and as many records - a world record and an Olympic record - in her Olympic debut.
After winning the 200m IM in Istanbul Worlds, Ye became the first Chinese swimmer to win the event in the short course and long course world championships, Olympic Games and the Asian Games.
Yao Zhengjie, head coach of the Chinese swimming team, was named the Best Coach of the year as he led the Chinese swimming team took a major breakthrough at the London Games while the Chinese swimming team was voted the Best Team.
Badminton men's doubles Olympic champion Cai Yun/Fu Haifeng retained their title as the Best Pair while men's 20km walk Olympic champion Chen Ding was the winner of the Best Rookie.
Xu Lijia, who won the Laser Radial class in the Olympic sailing at London, received the honor of Sports Special Contribution, while Yao Ming took the Judging Committee's Special Award.
The annual CCTV Sports Awards, recognized as the Chinese version of the Laureus World Sports Awards, is taken as the premier honors on the Chinese sporting calendar. The 11 titles came from the votes cast by 120 sports specialists.