The Tokyo Olympics generated much excitement in Hong Kong, with the city gripped by the achievements of its athletes who won a record haul of six medals. Memories of those summer months may have faded. But some of the enthusiasm was rekindled on the weekend thanks to a high-profile visit from the mainland’s star Olympians. Although part of China, Hong Kong has a separate team in the Olympics and other international sporting events. This is an important element of the “one country, two systems” concept. The three-day trip by 29 members of the China team gave Hong Kong fans a chance to see the country’s medal winners in action. Among them was table tennis star Ma Long, a double gold winner, and sprinter Su Bingtian, the first Chinese runner to reach an Olympics 100 metres final and now recognised as “Asia’s fastest man”. They received a warm welcome from the thousands who snapped up tickets. Swimming, gymnastics, rowing, fencing and badminton were among the many sports demonstrated. The Olympians also attended a variety show hosted by local celebrities. There were meet-and-greet sessions, including with primary schoolchildren. They were hosted at Government House and visited the central government’s liaison office. The athletes were even offered the chance to study free of charge at Polytechnic University after their sporting career. Asia’s fastest man Su Bingtian reveals how Hong Kong legends inspired him Sadly, Covid-19 restrictions meant the numbers who could meet the athletes were more limited than in the past. The Olympians, who will tour Macau later in the month, must spend two weeks in quarantine on the mainland. Their efforts are appreciated. These events are, by their nature, overtly patriotic occasions. They are intended to engender a sense of national identity and pride. Similar visits have taken place after every Olympics. This time, the tour was delayed because of the National Games and the impact of Covid-19. The tours also provide an opportunity to bring Hong Kong closer to the rest of China. Sprinter Su delighted the crowd by greeting them in Cantonese. Meanwhile, Hong Kong athletes – some as young as 12 – had an opportunity to perform with China’s stars. The benefits of sport, however, go far beyond national pride and are not restricted to elite athletes. Participation in sport at any level is good for body and soul. Team work, leadership, courage and determination are among the attributes it can bring. China’s star athletes left a lasting impression. Hopefully, they inspired many in Hong Kong to pursue their personal sporting dream, whether it be Olympic glory or simply to try their best at whatever level they perform.