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People & Points
Print Edition> People & Points
UPDATED: September 1, 2008 No.36 SEP.4, 2008

Punching His Way to Glory

When light flyweight boxer Zou Shiming stepped onto the Olympic podium to receive his gold medal on August 24, the groundbreaking victory made him the first Chinese to claim champion's titles in the 48 kg division at major events-the World Championships and Olympic Games.

Born in 1981, Zou learned martial arts at 12, but switched to boxing at 16, and was selected for the national team three years later. At the 2003 World Boxing Championships, Zou's international debut finished with a historic silver medal, the first-ever for a Chinese boxer at world-level competitions. One year later at the Athens Games, Zou won China's first Olympic medal as a light flyweight. Zou was crowned at the 2005 World Championships, and successfully defended the title in 2007.

Zou's secret to winning is his famous "pirate" boxing style, characterized by great speed and excellent footwork. Zou has no advantages in physical strength compared with his powerful rivals, but he used his kungfu background to great advantage with flurries of quick punches and excellent balance.

Tough Hockey Coach Gets Results

As Korean coach Kim Chang Back led the Chinese women's hockey team to the finals by defeating Germany at the Beijing Olympics, it marked his ninth year in charge, the longest term for a foreign coach in any Chinese sports team.

The 53-year-old trained the South Korean women's team from 1989-94 in his home country. Under Kim, the Chinese team finished fifth at the Sydney Olympics and fourth the Athens Games. Kim's coaching style is typical of South Korean sport, high demands plus intense training, earning him the nickname "devil trainer" by his players. Over the past years, Kim has brought advanced skills and a teamwork ethic to Chinese hockey. Self-discipline and self-respect share equal importance in his team, and he always requires the hockey players to act as a group.

The Chinese women's hockey team was the runner-up in the Beijing Olympics, but Kim believes he will eventually lead his players to win the Olympic championship. He plans to retire after his coaching days in China are over.

Gymnast Is a Supermom

Veteran gymnast Oksana Chusovitina earned a silver medal for Germany in the women's vault on August 17 at the Beijing Games, her fifth Olympics. When asked why she is still active on-court at 33, the oldest female gymnastics competitor at the Games referred to her 9-year-old son, suffering from a fatal disease, as the reason.

A native of Uzbekistan, Chusovitina won the gold medal in the women's team for the former Soviet Union at the 1992 Barcelona Olympics. She retired and married wrestler Bakhodir Kurpanov in 1996, and three years later, their son Alisher was born. Alisher was diagnosed with leukemia in 2002, and she was forced to make a comeback to earn money to save her son. It was the illness that brought her to Germany to obtain favorable medical treatment after the 2006 Pusan Asian Games, at which she won gold medals in vault and free exercise at the age of 27.

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