December 16, 2008

Cheng Fei: "What Counts Is That I've Gained Confidence"

Cheng Fei did well in Madrid, claiming gold medals on vault and floor as expected. A fall on beam on a sheep jump prevented her from taking a 3rd medal on that apparatus.

Cheng Fei remembers what it feels like to win a vault final (photo: Volker Minkus/FIG)

After the competition, Cheng Fei said that the medals themselves didn't mean a great deal to her, but that the Madrid competition had given her self-confidence a major boost. "The gold content of the World Cup gold medals may not be very high, but what counts is that I've gained confidence," the multiple world champion was quoted as saying by Sina.

Cheng's former coach Zhao Hanhua echoed the confidence-boosting aspect, saying, "There weren't many top competitors at this World Cup Final, but through her own performances, Cheng Fei had the opportunity to tell herself: 'I can still do this!' Many people don't know how discouraged Cheng Fei was after letting the vault and floor titles slip through her fingers at the Beijing Olympics. Today she had a chance to prove herself again, which wasn't easy."

Cheng herself once again stressed that she had gotten over her Beijing disappointment. Speaking of the mental journey she had made since the Olympics, the 20-year-old said, "There was nothing for it. When something has just happened, you have very strong emotions, and you may be in low spirits. But it's over now, and I can only move on now, step by step."

According to Sina, Cheng appeared quite relaxed in Madrid. To prove this, the site quoted Cheng's father, Cheng Ligao (now a coach), who said, "Today my daughter finally rang her mother, saying that she was having a lot of fun in Madrid. So we asked her: 'In that case, will you still be training?' She said: 'Of course.'"

As far as the elder Cheng is concerned, his daughter now has to confirm that she'll be at next year's National Games. After that, he says, it's up to her to decide whether or not she wishes to stay in the sport.

Cheng Fei performing her floor routine in Madrid (photo: Volker Minkus/FIG)

Cheng herself once more expressed an interest in pursuing academic interests after this year. "After today I may spend a bit more time studying," the athlete was quoted as saying by Sina. "After this competition, I hope I can learn a bit more about other things."

Cheng Fei is a student at the Wuhan Sports Institute, but she indicated in Madrid that she would like to study some non-sports-related things now. Asked on what kind of course exactly she would like to embark, Cheng answered: "I haven't really thought it over yet in detail. I just hope I'll gradually have a bit more time to study."

We're not sure that sounds like a future 2012 Olympian, but as far as we're concerned, Cheng has earned the right to pursue her own interests for a while.


  1. Just a small correction: Zhao Hanhua was Cheng Fei's coach in Hubei (at the Wuhan Institute of Sports, if I'm not mistaken), but she is not a National Team coach. Li Shanshan also worked with Coach Zhao before transferring to the Guangdong team. It's quite common for the Chinese media to ask the provincial level coaches to weigh in on their former protegees' World and Olympic performances. (Jiang Yuyuan's former coach in Zhejiang has also been full of praise for his former pupil.)

  2. I know. I've translated articles on Zhao before! I'll add the word "former" in the post to make it more obvious.

    Also, correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't Zhao Hanhua male, and Jiang Yuyuan's coach in Zhejiang, Chen Rong, female?


  3. Sorry, that should be Chen Hong, not Chen Rong.

  4. I'm pretty sure that Zhao Hanhua is female. At any rate, this article refers to her using the feminine version of "ta" -

    I'm not at all sure about Jiang Yuyuan's coach in Zhejiang, but I always had the impression that Chen Hong was male. Jiang did have at least one female coach in Guangxi (her home province) before transferring to Zhejiang.