It's the taking part that counts
This year's Olympics were definitely memorable for the Chinese. With a total of 32 gold medals, China's athletes set plenty of new records for themselves and the nation and paved the way for a successful Beijing Olympics. Special mention should go to the two women doubles champion tennis players, Sun Tian Tian and Li Ting.
These women were definitely not the top players in the world. But together, they fought their way to the finals, defeating brilliant players like Spain's Ruano Pascual and Argentina's Paola Suarez, who are the world's top-ranked doubles pair. I watched their live performance against the Spanish. Skills-wise, they were not as experienced and awesome as the other two players, but together they made a miracle pair. They seemed to know what each other was thinking, making their co-operation and teamwork almost flawless.
I think another key to their success was how lightly they took the results of the game. Unlike other players, I saw no hint of anxiety on their faces.
Normal athletes would have shown extreme tension, their face screwing up when they missed a point or made a careless mistake. But the Chinese duo looked as if they were having a friendly match with teammates. Even when they played the world's strongest competitors, they remained calm.
When they scored a point, they gave themselves a pat on the back. Once when Li made a mistake, Sun just looked teasingly at her, and Li smiled back sheepishly. Other duos would have remained expressionless or had angry words. Their ability to relax and enjoy the game made them mentally fit to play to a gold standard.
Li and Sun demonstrated real sportsmanship and team spirit. Although it's glorious to win gold, it does create immense pressure for the athletes, who are already striving for their best. We should remember it's their efforts that count, not the medals they get. Those who win silver and bronze medals deserve equal praise.
Pulcheria is a regular SYP columnist