Organizing a Marathon in Changsha with Sports Secretary and Olympic Champion Xiong Ni
It was a great pleasure to meet with Xiong Ni, who currently heads the Sports Administration of Hunan Province. I am glad to be working together with his team to help plan the organization of a summer marathon in the city of Changsha.
In the final decades of the 20th century, Hunan was known to produce outstanding athletes. As a part of ongoing efforts to resume this trend, it is important to encourage mass participation in outdoor activities and expand the pool of potential candidates for a career in sports, which is one of the aims of organizing a marathon.
On a personal level, I was deeply impressed with Xiong Ni’s determination to succeed as an administrator and to help more young athletes reach and surpass his achievements as an athlete. He has won 10 gold medals in the Diving World Cup and 3 Olympic gold medals, alongside hundreds of other accolades.
Xiong Ni has a lot of stories to tell. However, when I met him he was quite modest and did not appear particularly interested in touting his achievements but I believe they can serve as an inspiration to many. Hence, below I am sharing one particularly the story of one particularly important moment in his career, which epitomizes his strong spirit and willingness to compete and struggle for greatness.
During the Sydney Olympic Games in the summer of 2000, the Chinese men’s “dream team” failed to win gold medals in the first three events of the diving competition.
Xiong took part in the fourth event, which was a 3m springboard dive. The Chinese athletes reached the final but after the first two dives, Dmitry Sautin of Russia led Xiong by more than 30 points and no one expected China to come back from that and contend for the gold medal.
“At that time, I knew we had a very slim chance of winning. But I didn’t want to look like a loser, therefore I hung on and made the best attempt in every dive,” Xiong recalled.
His persistence put a great deal of pressure on his rival. In the last dive of the final, Sautin chose to make a very difficult somersault in order to consolidate his victory. But he made a mistake, scored far less than Xiong, and at last, Xiong won the gold medal.
As his coach and teammates ran to the pool to congratulate him, Xiong burst into tears of joy. “I grew up in the pursuit of the Olympic dream. The Olympic experience taught me never to give up,” he said.
Xiong Ni’s story epitomizes the “never give up” mentality that many talk about but few persist to implement in practice.
Be like Xiong Ni – dare to strive for success!