China finished aquatics world championships on a high note last weekend, with 19-year-old Sun Yang snagging the host country's fifth swimming gold and setting a world record in the men's 1,500-meter freestyle. Sun, who also won the 800-meter freestyle event and took silver in the 400, finished in 14:34.14, beating Grant Hackett's 10-year-old record.
Sun has taken over the spotlight from teammate Zhang Lin, who became China's first male swimming champion when he won the men's 800-meter freestyle in world record time in Rome in 2009.
China was second in the gold medal count at the FINA championships, hosted in Shanghai in three spectacular brand-new venues at Shanghai Oriental Sports Center. The host took 15 golds to the United States' 17, but had the most overall — 36 medals to the United States' 32. China strengthened its command of the diving, sneaked past Australia for the No. 2 spot in swimming, and were surprise silver-medal winners in women's water polo.
Here's a quick sport-by-sport tally of China's performance:
China swept all 10 gold medals in the diving competition, showing to no one's surprise that they have plenty more talent to extend their domination of the sport at the 2012 Olympics in London. China also won four silvers, for 14 total diving medals.
China's women's team were a Cinderella this year, making it all the way to the final before losing to Greece, 9-8. Granted, it was an unusual year in the women's tournament, with none of the quarterfinal games going to the favored team — 2009 champion United States and runner-up Canada were bounced in that round, as were 2008 Olympic champions Netherlands and perennial contender Australia. The Chinese team's second-place finish raises hopes that they can boost the country's low team-sport medal count in the next Olympics. The men's team missed the playoffs after losing all of their games in group play.
China was second in both the gold medal (5) and total medal (14) counts, surpassing frequent runner-up Australia but still a far cry from the United States, which had 16 gold medals. Two Chinese swimmers who won gold and set world records at the 2009 championships in Rome, Zhang Lin and Liu Zige, were much quieter this year. Zhang only competed in relays, and Liu took bronze in the women's 200 butterfly, losing to teammate Jiao Liuyang.
China's gold medalists:
Women's 200-meter IM: Ye Shiwen, 2:08.90
Women's 100-meter backstroke: Zhao Jing, 59.05
Men's 800-meter freestyle: Sun Yang, 7:38.57
Women's 200-meter butterfly: Jiao Liuyang 2:05.55
Men's 1,500-meter freestyle: Sun Yang, 14:34.14 (WR)
Open water swimming and synchronized swimming
Yes, I know, these two have nothing in common with each other. But China failed to win any gold medals in either. Russia swept the synchro competition with seven golds.
Sun Yang image: Titan Sportsphoto#
Tags: diving, FINA, Sun Yang, swimming, water polo, Zhang Lin
At the Olympics last August, the host country won all but one gold medal--the men's 10-meter platform title was snatched from Zhou Luxin (周吕鑫) by Australia's Matthew Mitcham, whose execution of a 3.8 degree of difficulty dive earned him the highest score in the history of Olympic diving.
FINA has not released a day-by-day schedule or a lineup of competitors, but most of the big names were out for last week's meet in Doha. Zhou barely beat Mitcham in the 10-meter platform, and China won all eight gold medals at the event. China's other winners at Doha were:
Wang Feng/Kai Qin (men's three-meter springboard synchro)
Chen Ruolin/Li Kang (women's 10-meter platform synchro)
Zhang Xinhua (men's three-meter springboard)
Lin Yue/Huo Liang (men's 10-meter platform synchro)
Wang Han/He Zi (women's three-meter platform synchro)
Chen Ruolin (women's 10-meter platform)
Wu Minxia (women's three-meter springboard)
China's "diving queen," four-time gold medalist Guo Jingjing (a three-meter springboard diver), has still not returned to competition. She has reportedly said she expects to compete beginning in May.
Tags: Changzhou, diving, FINA, Matthew Mitcham, Zhou Luxin
Doctors that hurdler Liu Xiang visited in the United States agreed with his Chinese doctors in advising surgery for the Achilles tendon injury that kept him out of the Beijing Olympics.
The International Olympic Committee is still conducting doping tests from the August Olympics, and IOC president Jacques Rogge said he expects at least 15 cases from this year's Olympiad.
Former Chinese national team diving coach Yu Fen has threatened legal action against diving's administrative body, to secure several million yuan she believes she is owed in bonuses from her tenure with the team, which ended in 1997. Yu coached greats Guo Jingjing and Wu Mingxia.
Tickets are on sale for the Chinese women's national soccer team's match against gold medalists the United States at Detroit's Ford Field December 17.
Hong Kong is among the cities bidding to host the 2013 FINA World Championships. The world governing body for aquatic sports including swimming, diving, water polo and synchronized swimming holds a world championship every year. The 2011 championships will take place in Shanghai.
Tags: diving, doping, FINA, football, Guo Jingjing, Liu Xiang, soccer, swimming, track and field, Wu Mingxia, Yu Fen