Tuesday, August 26, 2008

China's gold medals came at a high price

If anybody feels a pang of jealousy over China's haul of Olympic gold medals, they need only pause to consider what the athletes went through to get them.

The only mother on China's team, Xian Dongmei, told reporters after she won her gold medal in judo that she had not seen her 18-month-old daughter in one year, monitoring the girl's growth only by webcam.
Another gold medalist, weightlifter Cao Lei, was kept in such seclusion training for the Olympics that she wasn't told her mother was dying.
She found out only after she had missed the funeral.
Chen Ruolin, a 15-year-old diver, was ordered to skip dinner for one year to keep her body sharp as a razor slicing into the water. The girl weighs 66 pounds.
And Guo Jingjing, a gold medalist in diving who weighs 108 pounds, suffers from health problems related to diving and is said to have such bad eyesight she can barely see the diving board. It is a common hazard for Chinese divers, who are recruited as young as 6.