You've just won an Olympic gold medal. Emotions are rushing. There are so many people to thank. But who gets the first mention? The correct answer, according to top Chinese sport officials, is 'motherland' and then 'mum'. The debate was yesterday's hot topic among mainland media and internet users, and an online poll showed that by last night, about 88 per cent of more than 300,000 people surveyed said that gold medallists should thank their parents first. It all began when Zhou Yang mentioned her parents but neglected to thank the country after winning a gold medal in the women's 1,500 meters short-track speed skating in Vancouver last month. She told reporters last month that the gold medal 'will definitely ... improve life for my parents'. Yu Zaiqing, an International Olympic Committee vice-chairman and a deputy director of the General Administration of Sport, criticised some young athletes at the weekend for forgetting to thank the country when they thanked just their parents, according to The Southern Metropolis News. 'There's nothing wrong with thanking your parents, but first you should thank your country. You've got to put the country first and not simply thank your parents alone,' Yu was quoted as saying, which the public believed referred to Zhou's first statement. So, when the 18-year-old gold medallist was a guest for an online chat on Monday, she said she wanted to thank her country first in her second public statement, and her parents came last. 'What I really want to say is thanks ... and I thank everyone who supported us. I thank our coaches, I thank the staff, and I thank my mum and dad,' she said. Some mainland internet users said Zhou did not tell the truth the second time. The Guangzhou-based Information Times said she 'was ordered to thank again'. Although Yu's speech caused Zhou to give the second statement, he put himself in the line of fire. Even Zhou's mother, Wang Shuying, who said she would ask her daughter to remember to thank the country first in the future, said Yu was just quibbling. 'What Chinese person does not love their country? We raise our children to bring glory to the country! ... After bringing so much honour to the country, what does such a little thing matter?' Wang was quoted by the New Culture as saying. Gao Jian, a delegate to the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference and former senior official of the General Administration of Sport, said Yu was referring to all of the country's athletes, not just Zhou. After all, he said, the government had invested large sums in sport to make the athletes champions. He emphasised the importance of the athletes' moral education and told The Southern Metropolis News that 'moral education is more important than the physical training'.