The 2016 Olympics gets underway in Rio de Janeiro today, and hopefully we can forget the talk of the Zika virus and unfinished apartments in the Olympic Village, and enjoy some fabulous sport. Of course each of us will be rooting for our home countries’ athletes, but here are two Beijing-born stars we can all get behind.
Cao Yuan is a 21 year old diver. He took up the sport at the age of five, when his mother enrolled him in classes to teach him discipline (we are saying nothing about the stereotype of pushy Asian mothers…). Her support bore fruit when, aged only fifteen, Cao won gold in the Men’s 10 meter platform at the Asian Games.
At the London 2012 Olympics Cao and his diving partner Yue Lin took the gold for the Men’s Synchronized 10 meter platform. In 2014 at the World Diving Series in Canada he broke two records, becoming the only diver ever to win three golds in one World Series. Along with his triumph in the 10 meter individual platform, he and Yue won the 10 meter and 3 meter synchronized dives, becoming the first men to claim two golds in a single day.
Cao says his motto is “Go your own way and see your own scenery. Be calm for life’s ups and downs.” He’ll be going up and down from August 7 to August 20, but watch for him particularly in the 3 meter synchronized springboard on August 10.
Gymnast Wang Yan is only 16, but has been competing at the highest level for three years. In 2014 she won all-around gold at the Asian Junior Games, and gold in the vault at the National Games of China. She became a “senior elite gymnast” in 2015.
We understand from informed sources that “her Rudi has some issues” (a Rudi is a forward twisting somersault), but she should be in competition for medals in the finals of the vault (August 14) and balance beam (August 15).