- 9 Aug 08, 02:06 PM
'A journey of a thousand miles stars with one step' said Confucius. Apparently.
And while China's final gold medal haul may not quite reach a thousand, they're certainly going to win plenty and their 'first step' came today from Chen Xiexia.
The tiny weightlifter went into the women's 48 kg competition carrying the burden of the hopes of a nation and still managed to add to that a combined snatch and clean and jerk of 212 kilogrammes to win by a massive 13 kilos.
Silver went to Turkey's Sibel Ozkan and bronze to Taipei's Chen Wei-Ling.
Remarkably, Wei-Ling's total of 196kg was about 25 kg more than she has previously lifted in major competitions - finishing 11th in last year's World Championships, 13th the year before and 11th at the last Olympics.
And there lies the problem.
It's unfortunate for as compelling a spectator sport as weightlifting that collective eyebrows will be raised and suspicious noises made at any performance, which in more innocent days would have brought only admiration.
So, even with all lifters rightly being considered innocent unless proven otherwise, has the legacy of drug abuse ruined weightlifting as a spectator sport?
Or is it sill fascinating to watch - even with that doubt and suspicion?
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