Liu Xuan appears before juniors and is revealed by her coach to have been a short, fat stump of a girl
It's only been 3 months since the end of the Beijing Olympic Games, but the country's troops are already preparing for the London Olympics. Recently, 22 junior gymnasts trained together in Beijing for a week, meaning they were very close to the national team. On December 8, Sydney Olympic champion Liu Xuan made an appearance at the training center. She spoke about her own entry into the national team, and how coach Lu Shanzhen "mercilessly" called her "a small, fat stump of a girl."
Liu Xuan, looking not the slightest bit like a small, fat stump of a girl
Yesterday, the 22 juniors, who hail from all over China, trained on all 4 events at the national training center, under the watchful eyes of all the national team coaches. The coaches will choose the very best from among these juniors, after which the girls in question will enter the national team to prepare for the London Olympics. Although these gymnasts are young, they're all very much aware of what is at stake at this training camp, so they're trying with all their might to show off what they're capable of. The coaches say they don't have any requirements which the girls have to meet; basically, the coaches are relying on their experience to pick the girls with the greatest potential.
For all this, the young girls are still doing their utmost to make sure the coaches remember them. Coach He Hua told us an interesting story: "These young girls are really cute. I'm spending all my time with 4 juniors at the moment, but I kept forgetting their names. Then out of the blue, they told me their childhood names [terms of endearment used by the parents while the kids are young, comparable to "Katie" for "Katrina", etc.], and suddenly I found myself able to remember their names."
It so happened that Sydney Olympic champion Liu Xuan paid a visit to the national training center while the juniors were there. Seeing how seriously the young girls were taking their tryout for the national team, people got very curious as to how Liu's tryout for the national team had been. Perhaps seeing that his young hopefuls were very promising, coach Lu Shanzhen, who was in a very good mood, also "mercilessly" recounted his memories of Liu Xuan attending the training camp to try out for the national team: "What I remember most about her [Liu Xuan] is that she had very large hands and feet. These things are really prominent in athletes. At the time Liu Xuan was a small, fat stump of a girl with very dark eyebrows." In addition, coach Lu revealed that Liu Xuan wasn't a very cheerful-looking girl at the time, perhaps because she'd been a bit of cry-baby ever since she was a small child.
But the nicely dressed Liu Xuan made no bones about telling the truth either, telling the juniors about her own experience of being booted off the national team. "After the first time I was removed from the team, they said it was because my body shape didn't meet their requirements. I wasn't slender enough. So my then coach was absolutely determined to give me high-quality routines, and the year after I won the national championships."
Liu Xuan, 2000 Olympic champion on beam
It's generally known that of the 22 juniors at the training camp, only about 10 will officially make the national team. It seems that Liu Xuan is telling these young girls her personal history to let them know that setbacks don't matter. So long as you have the perseverance to train hard, you can become an Olympic champion.
Amen to that.
And for those of you who missed our earlier post on this, here's a video of Liu Xuan plying her new trade!