Chinese head coach Lu Shanzhen spoke to several Chinese journalists yesterday. Naturally most of the conversation revolved about Cheng Fei and her post-Olympic plans, but Lu also had some news about China's current training camp. And - wait for it - about the team's makeup.
Jiang Yuyuan and her blue eyeshadow (photo: Getty Images)
Apparently some "Internet friends" suggested to Lu that the women's gymnastics team invite a makeup artist to teach the girls how to put on sophisticated makeup. And apparently Lu has come to the conclusion that this is a good idea. "The girls must learn all sorts of skills," he was quoted as saying by Sina. "Which means more than just unceasingly increasing their start values."
What can we say? We look forward to seeing the Chinese in their next big competition. Will there be any blue eyeshadow? Stay tuned!
A few other tidbits from the Sina article...
It seems the Chinese women's team has started its traditional "winter training" in Beijing. Yesterday, Coach Lu told reporters that, without any of the usual brouhaha, the girls' winter training had begun. Among the girls in winter training are Cheng Fei, He Kexin, Yang Yilin, and other Olympic team members, some of whom are currently preparing for the World Cup Final.
Meanwhile, the selection process for the "seeds of the 2012 Olympic team" has also begun. According to Lu Shanzhen, 60 young national team members born in 1995 and 1996 from all over the country have convened in Beijing for a joint training camp that will last either a week or 10 days, depending on which source you believe.
Lu also said that China's Olympic gold medal in the team competition had proven that the women's team's method of using new people all the time so as to find the strongest contenders for a place on the A team worked, so now he wants to see more fresh faces on the team. Expect to see lots of different Chinese gymnasts at various international competitions over the next few years!
Lu Shanzhen and Cheng Fei after Cheng's Olympic disaster (photo: Amy Sancetta/AP Photo)
As to Cheng Fei, Lu said that she's currently in a post-Olympic readjustment period. She's certainly keeping up her difficulty, but she's not yet in her Olympic peak form. Over the next 1 or 2 years, says Lu, Cheng Fei's training will be readjusted. This 1-or-2-year readjustment period will determine whether or not Cheng will be able to compete in London in 2012.
Lu admitted to giving his team captain special treatment. "When it comes to an 'old general' like her, we must definitely give her a relaxed environment to train in."
He also said he believed Cheng would be hard to replace as the team leader, which is one more reason why he hopes to have her around for 4 more years. "If everything takes its normal course, there's absolutely no reason why she shouldn't be able to compete until 2012, as long as she herself is willing to persevere. After all, she really isn't that old yet. She has no injuries or health problems. She's in better shape than some of our youngsters. Moreover, even if Cheng Fei takes a step back, she's still going to have the greatest difficulty and strength on vault and floor. If other people want to surpass her, they'll have their work cut out for them."
With a coach who's that keen on keeping her, we expect to see Cheng around for a few more years.