Daily Bagel: Did a Chinese official really slap Li Na?
The Daily Bagel is your dose of the interesting reporting, writing and quipping from around the Internet.
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• Did a Chinese official really slap Li Na during the 2001 Chinese national games? TIME takes a look at the issue:
The backstory as to how Jiang Shan ended up on the 2001 championship podium also hints at the stress Li endured when still yoked to the state sports machine. For four years, Li and Jiang played mixed doubles for the Hubei provincial team, and they were a highly successful pair. Yet as their romance bloomed, team officials made the abrupt decision to split the pair up. According to Li’s memoir, they did not know about the break-up until a match draw was published. Upset, Li negotiated with provincial sports officials, who promised that the two would be reunited at the upcoming 2001 national games. But when that tournament roster was published, the pair was still separated. Li was furious. “We are human beings,” she wrote in her autobiography, “not pieces on a chess board.”
The state-controlled press criticized Li for complaining about the mixed-doubles shake-up. One article sniffed that the Hubei provincial team had arranged the split to increase its chances of winning both gold and silver, “but Li Na has her own agenda, which is to stand on the champion’s platform with her boyfriend so they can memorialize their love.” Instead, Jiang and his partner won gold, while Li got a bronze and a slap. “Neither one of us got happiness [from the tournament],” she recalled. “Our hearts grew colder.”
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