Media blackout for Hong Kong Olympic medal hope Sarah Lee
Coach Shen Jinkang imposes the restriction to maximise cycling star’s gold prospects at Rio Games
Hong Kong’s main Olympic medal hope Sarah Lee Wai-sze has finally arrived in Rio de Janeiro and her coach immediately cloaked her in a media blackout in order to maximise her gold prospects.
In echoes of Lee Lai-shan’s gold medal-winning preparations in Atlanta 20 years ago, cycling coach Shen Jinkang said sprinter Lee would not be speaking to the media in the lead-up to her keirin race at the weekend.
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“Coach Shen will not allow any press to approach Sarah before competition,” warned Hong Kong Sports Federation & Olympic Committee official Vivien Lau.
Such restrictions are usually only imposed when the coaching team is genuinely hopeful of a medal and Lee’s meticulous training has also involved acclimatising to Rio time before arriving in the Brazilian city.
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“Sarah is in good form and she adjusted herself to Rio time before she got on the flight,” said Shen. “That means she slept according to Rio time and was able to push herself in her first training session here.”
Lee, the bronze medallist from the 2012 London Olympics, has had two gym sessions and a light workout since arriving in Rio.
Her only media assignment from now until her race is a two-hour photo session on Wednesday but media will not be allowed to ask questions.
When San San won her gold in Savannah, there was a total media blackout and coach Rene Appel would occasionally give out updates via messenger. The Dutchman credited the blackout with helping Lee Lai-shan win Hong Kong’s first and only gold medal in Olympic history.
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