Yang Ling 07-22-2004 14:02

Yang Ling has been one of China's best marksmen for the past decade. He has won 2 Olympic golds in Atlanta and Sydney, and the image of him kissing his rifle in tears was broadcast around the world. Now, we try to find out how he has stayed at the top of his game.

Yang Ling didn't start shooting until he was 14 years old, but he soon emerged as one of China's most promising marksmen thanks to his unusually mature attitude. He fulfilled his ambition of winning a gold medal at the 1996 Atlanta Games in his first appearance at the world's most popular sporting event.

He walked into the Atlanta stadium in such a calm way that it seemed nothing could prevent him from getting the gold. He kept his composure and sailed into the final of the men's 10 meters running target with a 4 ring advantage and clinched the gold.

His brilliant success came out of the blue even to him. He now says he wasn't mentally prepared for becoming a well-known athlete, and his performance plummeted as he couldn't handle the pressure. He says it took him a long time to adjust.

Yang Ling said, "After all, shooting is an individual game in that you have to compete with yourself for most of the time. If your efforts are hampered by too much trivial factors, you will find that everything is in a mess. You won't have a clear mind about what you should do and what you shouldn't do if fail to concentrate. This is really annoying."

Yang Ling failed to concentrate on his sporting career until he met in 1998 a university professor who told him that the only way to retain his glory was to forget all about the past and live a simpler life. He regained his form one year later and booked a place in the national squad to the 2000 Sydney Olympics.

He added "I will try to seize every opportunity that comes my way. I will take advantage of my chances."

In Sydney, he met arch rival Oleg Moldovan of Moldova who stayed at Yang's heels from the preliminary rounds to the final. There, Yang won the game with a razor-thin margin of 0.1, the minimum difference needed to win. With this victory, he became the first Chinese marksmen to win golds in two Olympics in a row.

In 2001, Yang Ling took up a very different challenge. As a double Olympic champion, he represented China with another two-time Olympic gold medallist Deng Yaping in Moscow at the final briefing of the country's bid to hold the 2008 Olympics. It was a brand new challenge for him.

Though a little shy and less proficient in English compared with his Cambridge-educated colleague, Yang displayed his sincerity to IOC members, which impressed them deeply.

When Mr Samaranch, Former IOC President, declared China's victory, Yang Ling was the first in the Chinese delegation to jump up from the seat and celebrate the win. It was an experience he says he will never forget.

Life has calmed down since then, but his preparations for the upcoming Olympic Games are heating up as he hopes to win his 3rd consecutive gold medal. His rifle has brought him success and glory, and he hopes that together, they'll shoot for success in Athens.


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