Sports / China

Olympic traces at Youth Games

(Xinhua) Updated: 2014-08-19 17:06

NANJING, China - For many Olympians who don't have a chance to compete in the Youth Olympic Games, there are ways to associate themselves with the fledgling event.

Xu Haifeng, who won China's first ever Olympic gold medal in the 1984 Los Angeles Games, is the venue manager for triathlon and pentathlon at the Youth Olympics.

In men's 3-for-3 basketball, Chinese team's coach Zhang Yunsong is a two-time Olympian who played guard and helped China to reach the quarterfinals at the Beijing Olympics.

Greco-Roman wrestling legend, Maik Bullmann, who won a gold medal at the Barcelona 1992 Olympic Games and bronze four years later in Atlanta, is also a coach of the German team.

"Wrestling, and sport in general, has always defined my life," said the 47-year-old German. "I was and I still am in the lucky position of making a profession out of my hobby. I was able to step from the mat to the side of the mat smoothly."

In pentathlon, Australia has a combination of dad and son. Dad Daniel Esposito, who is his son Max's coach, competed at the Los Angeles 1984 Olympic Games and would have been at Seoul four years later if he hadn't snapped his Achilles tendon.

Daniel's eldest daughter Chloe came seventh in the London 2012 Games and now 17-year-old Max is chasing gold at the Nanjing 2014 Youth Olympic Games having won the 2013 Oceania Championships.

He is the second member of the family to compete at a Youth Olympic Games, following in the footsteps of another sister, Emily, who competed in the pistol at the Singapore 2010 Games.

This sustained family success does not come easy, indeed.

"Leading up to London (for the 2012 Olympic Games) we trained in Australia and we got a certain result. My thinking on how to achieve a better result, and looking at what was lacking in the lead up to 2012, was to take the same training to a different country where we could access much more competition," said Daniel of the recent family move from Sydney to Italy.

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