Ollie Williams’ “Understanding China's gymnastics powerhouse” is one of reasons I started this blog. This well-written article is by all means a good read, but I second the doubt on “the profitability and potential harm of these kinds of articles” from the comment sections of OW's piece.
Apart from culture differences we usually believe, misunderstanding sometimes is simply caused by the language barrier. In the article, “why Deng was crying for her Silver” was one reason Ollie started his quest of understanding China’s gymnastics- WAG to be specific :
But even a silver medal could not keep Deng Linlin, narrowly beaten to balance beam gold by Romania's Ana Porgras, from bursting into tears in front of the same press pack a day later. She trembled with emotion as one journalist reached out to pat her on the shoulder, an awkward attempt at compassion in a confrontational environment.
I believe the following report should be written by the journalist interviewed DLL.
During the post-competition interview, Deng summarized her performance during the Beam Event Finals:
"I think my performance was pretty good today. Among my 3 competitions (Prelim BB, TF BB, BB EF) in this championship, my performance in the prelim was the best.”
Deng didn’t feel extra pressure from her reigning world BB title coming into this EF. “All my rivals were pretty strong, and I don’t think I have much advantage. It would all come down to the execution. “As for the wobbles on beam, she believes those non-stuck landing were caused by somehow lack of confidence.
Two days ago, Chinese WAG team head coach Lu Shanzhen said that the whole team was upset about the Team bronze medal, and Deng was even seen crying during training afterwards. Even till the EF day 2, Deng still could not hold back her tears when asked about the TF. “I simply feel bad”. Although her performance during the TF was pretty solid, she still felt sorry for the whole team.
During the competition, Deng, and her teammate, saw a strong reviving Russian WAG. Deng said although Team USA in this championship wasn’t as strong as the one in 2008, there are still some very good American juniors at home. "We will certainly train harder after we go back, and will prepare for next year's world championships and 2012 Olympics in London."
Had Ollie asked the Chinese journalist interviewed Deng, his question “why Deng was so upset about her silver” would have been answered. Chinese journalist won’t bite, you know. :)
PS. Some background on what might have caused Deng’s still upset about bronze medal even with her solid performance in TF even 4 days later, and her lack of confidence in the BB EF. Here was her routines in TF, and how her D scores worked out.
Front Tuck D
Bhs+ Bhs+ Back Layout BBE 0.2
Full Turn with horizontal leg C
Switch Ring Jump E
Side Somie D
Sheep Jump+Back Tuck DC 0.1
Front Aerial+ Chen DC 0.1
Bhs+ Bhs+ Double Pike BBE 0.2
In theory, her D score should have been
EEEDDDDC + CV 0.6 = total 6.5
However the BB D-score judge downgraded her Back Layout(E) to Back Pike (C). Not only did she lose 0.2 from E->C, she also lost the connection value 0.2. So her actual awarded D score was
EEDDDCCC+ CV 0.4= total 6.1
This was one of most controversial downgrade in this championship. Please review the routine one more time and tell me the layout looks like a pike to you. With all that said, please try to step into Deng shoes, and imagine how you would feel if your best piece gymnastics was unfairly judged.
More on Deng’s personality: Deng is known as the "crying one" among her teammates. But she was one of those train-hard-never-give-up gals. Besides, from BBC TF & BB EF pre-Award-Ceremony-backstage footage, you can see how she congratulated Ksenia Semonova after TF (they knew each other from Beijing 2008), and Ana Pogras after BB EF (they knew each other from 2009 WC).
Maybe 10 years from now, Deng will become a UK gymnastics coach - mostly likely a USA coach, but everything is possible in the sports. And maybe then Ollie can ask her why she was upset about her 2010 Rotterdam Silver. But will he or his readers still be interested about the feelings of a silver medalist in a 10 year ago world championship? 09 London WC was only 1 year ago, and how many silver medalists can we still name?
My favorite montage about Deng Linlin, made by iRunFastest.