First journalist to break news on China’s first Olympic gold medal in 1984 – Gao Dianmin – dies, aged 62

The Xinhua veteran’s hurried phone call in an era before digital news told the world about shooter Xu Haifeng’s victory in Los Angeles

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 13 November, 2016, 6:29pm
UPDATED : Sunday, 13 November, 2016, 6:29pm

Veteran Chinese sports reporter Gao Dianmin – the first journalist to break the story on China’s first-ever Olympic gold medal – died of a heart attack on Friday afternoon while attending an International Olympic Committee meeting in PyeongChang. He was 62.

Before the judge declared the result, I ran 30 to 40 meters into the media centre and made a phone call to the editor. In a time without the electronic scoring system, I was the first one to report China’s first Olympic gold
Gao Dianmin

In the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics, Gao made a mad dash to the phone to inform his editor about shooter Xu Haifeng winning China’s first ever Olympic gold.

“Before the judge declared the result, I ran 30 to 40 metres into the media centre and made a phone call to the editor,” said Gao in an interview during the Rio Olympics. “In a time without the electronic scoring system, I was the first one to report China’s first Olympic gold.”

The IOC and a number of sports and media organisations paid tribute to Gao. IOC’s head of media operation Anthony Edgar hailed Gao as “extraordinary, a bridge between east and west media”. “We will remember him forever,” Edgar said.

Gao, a longtime member of the IOC press committee and AIPS who has covered every edition of the Summer Olympics from 1984 to 2016, joined Xinhua News Agency in 1977 after graduating from Dalian University of Foreign Languages.

He served on the media committees of the International Association of Athletics Federations and the International Volleyball Federation and participated in the torch relay for the Athens, Beijing, London and Rio Olympics, along with covering eight Asian Summer Games from 1982 to 2010 and numerous world championships of different sports.

He is survived by his wife, Wang Ya, a daughter and a grandchild.