China gymnast Shang breaks down in tears after losing out on medal and breaks Chinese netizens’ hearts

Shang Chunsong cries after a narrow fourth-place finish

PUBLISHED : Friday, 12 August, 2016, 9:31am
UPDATED : Saturday, 13 August, 2016, 5:09am

A young Chinese gymnast who has overcome poverty and sickness to make it to the Rio Olympics lost in the women’s individual all-around by a razor-thin margin, shedding tears at the stadium and breaking the hearts of her Chinese fans.

Shang Chunsong, 20, scored 58.549, losing out to bronze medallist Aliya Mustafina from Russia who finished with 58.665.

Dominant favourite Simone Biles from the US clinched gold with a score of 62.198 while her teammate Alexandra Raisman finished with 60.098.

The young Chinese gymnast shed tears after the results were finalised, with her 16-year-old teammate Wang Yan providing words of support.

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“Actually I didn’t expect I would get anything before the Games, but after the fourth rotation when I saw the result of Aliya Mustalfina was very close to mine, I felt upset at that moment. I thought I could have won a medal,” Shang said.

Her tears have shattered the hearts of her Chinese fans.

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A sports commentator with the state-run China Central Television said Shang performed very well, and suggested she only lost because the referees scored her lowly for some reason.

Chinese fans concurred, and took to Chinese micro-blogging site Weibo to give their support.

“You did not lose because of your performance. You lost because of the referees,” one wrote.

Another comment reads: “It doesn’t matter that you did not get a medal. You have done a fabulous job.”

Shang is considered the leader of the five-strong gymnastic squad from China. Three of her teammates are just 16 years old while the other is 19.

The promising athlete grew up in a remote village located in Zhangjiajie in Hunan province. She had barely enough to eat nor could she afford to keep herself warm during the winter, mainland media reported.

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When she started going to school at the age of six, she had to traverse a mountain to do so.

Every morning, her partially blind brother Shang Lei would carry her to school on his shoulders. When dusk fell, Shang Chunsong would help her brother to pass over the mountain to return home.

Her brother’s visual impairment could have been cured if the family were able to afford treatment.

She started practising gymnastics at the age of seven, and to enable her to continue, her brother decided to drop out of school to become a masseur so they could afford the training costs.

Her dream was simple. She wanted to find a way to cure her brother’s impairment so he could see how beautiful the world was.

The promising athlete won 14 gold medals in national competitions since 2013. It was her first Olympics in Rio.

She led her teammates to the bronze medal in the women’s team gymnastics earlier this week, despite suffering from a cold and not being able to train for five days.