Posts Tagged ‘Zhang Nan’

Chinese women’s team is…

July 25, 2008

The rumors were true. International Gymnast Magazine has confirmed that Cheng Fei, Jiang Yuyuan, Li Shanshan, Yang Yilin, He Kexin and Deng Linlin will represent team China in Beijing.

Team captain Cheng is the only returning 2004 Olympian but also the lone member of the 2006 World Championship-winning squad.

In China, gymnasts seem to flame out faster than they do elsewhere — perhaps it’s the emergence of stunning new talent like He and Deng that makes it that much harder to stay at the top.

Yang Yilin, 2008 Tianjin World Cup Event Finals, Uneven Bars:

Like the Chinese men’s squad named earlier, this is a dream team — if they can all hit in team finals. China’s reputation there is sketchy. If they hit in event finals, the Chinese could sweep the gold medals.

Whether they win team gold or not, China has certainly locked up the depth prize this quad. Talk about a country whose B team could challenge for a medal –not making the final Olympic cut was Olympic veteran Zhang Nan, artistic Sui Lu, snazzy Pang Panpan, powerful Xiao Sha, and 2006 World team members Zhou Zhuoru, He Ning .

China’s 2008 contenders

October 31, 2007

China's Zhou Zhuoru

The U.S. commentators didn’t think too much of her at the 2006 American Cup, but China’s Zhou Zhuoru likely made a bold statement about her ability to perform in big competitions at the DTB Cup in Stuttgart last weekend.

Zhou Zhuoru, 2006 American Cup, Uneven Bars:

The Americans seemed to a little more respect for Zhou after she was part of the team that toppled the U.S. at the 2006 Worlds.
Zhou Zhuoru, 2007 American Cup, Floor Exercise:

Zhou’s gold on balance beam and bronze on uneven bars at the DBT might be somewhat vindicating to the woman who is, in all honesty, probably classified as a “second-team gymnast” by others besides Tim Daggett. She given that she was designated the alternate for the 2007 World Championships in favor of less experienced teammates Li Shanshan, Jiang Yuyuan, Yang Yilin and Xiao Sha.

As International Gymnast Magazine put it, Zhouru’s performance “helped her Olympic cause.”

Exactly right. Although it’s extremely fun to discuss who’s on the bubble for making the 2008 U.S. Olympic Team (Memmel? Bieger? Hong? Peszek? Sloan? Everyone who isn’t Shawn Johnson or Nastia Liukin?) I’m wondering who’s on the bubble in other countries, particularly China, and Zhou is certainly one.

Compared to the 2006 Worlds, where the women won their first team gold and Pang Panpan became the first Chinese woman since Mo Huilan to almost walk away with a world all-around title, the Chinese performance in Stuttgart was probably something of a mixed bag.

Chinese newspapers made a lot of the fact that while the Chinese took home eight golds in Aarhus, they managed — horrors — only five in Stuttgart. Chinese coaches have pledged to up the difficulty of their gymnasts’ routines for Beijing.

China retained only two athletes — He Ning and Cheng Fei — from its golden 2006 squad, partially due to injuries and partially to give Li, Jiang, Yang and Xiao a chance to prove their abilities on gymnastics’ second largest international stage.

Whether or not they really did is a matter that hasn’t been explored too closely, except probably by the Chinese coaches. What is apparent is that the Chinese rivals the U.S.’s in depth – and not just on beam and bars.

China’s legitimate shots to make the women’s Olympic team include:

— Pang Panpan:

China's Pang Panpan

— Zhang Nan:

China's Zhang Nan

— Zhou Zhuoru:

China's Zhou Zhuoru

— Cheng Fei:

China's Cheng Fei

— Li Ya:

China's Li Ya

— He Ning:

China's He Ning

— Xiao Sha:

China's Xiao Sha

— Yang Yilin:

China's Yang Yilin

— Li Shanshan:

China's Li Shanshan

— Jiang Yuyuan:

China's Jiang Yuyuan

I’m sure there are others I’ve left out.

And now, a barrage of amazing Chinese gymnastics from this quad’s Olympic contenders and past Chinese greats: