Acting Governor Donald Tsang Yam-kuen was first in the official race to talk to San San but China's top man in the territory fired off a telegram ahead of Mr Tsang's call. The congratulatory telegram from the director of Xinhua (the New China News Agency) reached the Hong Kong Olympic team headquarters almost as soon as the race was over at about 6 am Hong Kong time. He said yesterday's race was 'a historic breakthrough and a victory for Hong Kong'.
Mr Tsang reached the champion by phone at 6.30 am.
'All of us in Hong Kong are proud of you and your achievements,' Mr Tsang told the gold medallist.
'I know you have faced a lot of challenges during the competition, but you have overcome all of them in an unyielding spirit to bring home a gold medal.' In reply, Lee said the medal belonged not only to her, but to the people of Hong Kong.
Mr Tsang said that he and his family were inspired by Lee's example to try windsurfing over the past weekend - but did not elaborate.
A congratulatory message was sent by Governor Chris Patten, who is on holiday, late in the afternoon so as not to steal Mr Tsang's thunder, according to a Government House spokesman.
'Mr Tsang is the Acting Governor. It's proper that he should call first,' he said.
Plans to invite the champion to Government House for tea would have to wait until the Governor returned from holiday on September 1, he said.