Name: Li Xiaopeng Date of Birth: July 27, 1981, in Changsha, Hunan province Entry for Beijing Games: Gymnastics, men's team and parallel bars Career highlights: Gold medal, Sydney 2000 Games, parallel bars and men's team; Bronze medal, Athens 2004 Games, parallel bars Main rivals: Yang Wei (China), Mitja Petkovsek (Slovenia), Tomita Hiroyuki (Japan), Kim Dae-eun (South Korea) After missing international competition for two seasons, multiple world champion Li Xiaopeng has staged a strong comeback just in time for his home Olympics. Foot and ankle injuries grounded Li, a 12-times world champion and twice Olympic gold medallist, but he is back to his best, although he no longer competes in the vault, his other speciality apparatus. 'My body can no longer hold up for two apparatus competitions at Olympic level,' said Li. 'The coach has designed a special regime for me focusing on parallel bars. ' Li is no newcomer to the discipline. He won the parallel bars in Sydney 2000 and spearheaded China's men's team title success Down Under. Like many of his compatriots, Li saw his experience in Athens four years later ruined by ghastly mistakes - sitting squarely on the mat upon his landing in the vault. As if that was not enough, Li fought an incessant battle against injury after Athens. 'I all but retired in 2006,' he said. 'Doctors told me it could take up to two years to fully recover. I thought it might be too long for me. Plus I had already been an Olympic champion. I didn't see where the motivation was to carry on.' Administrators, aiming to field a perfect squad for the Beijing Olympics, managed to persuade Li to stay the course. In 2006, Gao Jian, director of the Chinese Gymnastics Federation, told Xinhua he had promised a considerable pay rise to several top gymnasts. 'They would be entitled to a set monthly pay of 20,000 yuan by 2008,' Gao said. The offer, almost double the package of 2005, was quite a bonanza - and Li topped the list of beneficiaries. 'Li's return is of special significance,' said Huang Yubin, the head coach of the men's team. 'His experience will be invaluable to our campaign.' Li shot to stardom at the tender age of 16 when he helped China lift the men's team title in the 1997 world championships, finishing second in the parallel-bars competition. The 14 major titles in Li's trophy cabinet tie him with Li Ning, the legendary gymnast of the 1980s, as the mainland's most prolific. Now, at the dusk of his career, the Beijing Games probably looms as the last chance for him to stand alone at the top.