The other day we posted an interview with Cheng Fei. Now it's Jiang Yuyuan's turn to answer a few questions, and she does so in her customary fun-loving and mischievous way...
The story below was cobbled together from three sources: Sohu, Sina, and QQ. Enjoy!
(photo: Al Bello/Getty Images)
On December 26, Jiang Yuyuan traveled to the city of Hangzhou to attend a banquet commemorating 50 years of gymnastics in Zhejiang Province. (A native of Guangxi Province, Jiang was recruited to the Zhejiang team in 1999.) Other eminent guests included China’s National Team head coach Lu Shanzhen, 2008 Olympic alternate He Ning, 2002 World Cup beam champion Sun Xiaojiao, Sang Lan, and 1990 World Cup beam champion Yang Bo.
From the moment Jiang Yuyuan entered the banquet hall, she was surrounded by autograph seekers and those hoping to pose for a photo with the Olympic champion. Unfazed by the crowd, “Yuanyuan” smiled non-stop as she interacted with each fan, but occasionally, her youthfulness came to the surface.
When asked about Christmas, Yuanyuan gave a typical teenager’s response: “What kind of Christmas did we have? We had practice! But that day, a few kids from Hong Kong came to the training hall.”
“Were they your fans?”
“They were just passing through. They gave me a few gifts. But the little kids brought some things to eat.”
“Were there any fun gifts?”
“Little zipper pulls, plus some cotton candy. Believe it or not, but it was Hello Kitty cotton candy!” Yuanyuan seemed particularly happy at the thought of this small gift, which brought a little joy to an otherwise tedious Christmas.
Yep, we can see how Jiang Yuyuan might be a Hello Kitty fan...
“You look so thin,” a reporter said. “How much do you weigh?”
“I’m not going to tell you. That’s a girl’s secret!”
“I hear that you’re going to film a commercial when you get back to Beijing. Is that true?”
“That’s right.” Yuanyuan went on to explain that after the Olympics, she and several other teammates had posed for Marie Claire magazine. “It’s a shame we don’t get many opportunities like that. Plus, the clothes weren’t very nice. We had some better-looking outfits.” The style-conscious Jiang Yuyuan learned how to use make-up when she was just five years old and enjoys browsing through fashion magazines like Rayli and Xinwei as often as she can.
Most desirable New Year’s gift: A few days’ rest
After the Olympics, Yuanyuan participated in several competitions and placed first on more than one occasion. Asked to assess her performances, she said with a shrug: “So-so [she used the English expression]. I always felt a little disappointed, and felt I could have done even better.” Ever seeking perfection, Yuanyuan has never had a completely satisfactory day. “I’ve never earned 100 points in a competition. I’d give myself a 90 [for 2008]. I most regret my poor performance on vault at the Olympics. The performance I’m most satisfied with was the one at the national championships in Qingdao following the Olympics, where I did very well on floor exercise.”
Jiang botched vault in Beijing (photo: Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images)
Having completed her busy competition schedule, Yuanyuan still has to prepare for winter training. “After the Olympics, I never stopped. I’d really like to have some fun now, but where am I to find the time?”
“What is your wish for the New Year?”
This question seemed to perplex the Olympic champion. “Could I have more than one wish?” Yuanyuan asked mischievously. “First, I’d like to know how many days of rest we get at New Year’s.” Although she won’t be able to go home for the holiday, she’d like a few extra days of rest because the last few months have been so busy.
“OK. Your second wish?”
“After the fun, I’ll be ready to train systematically!” Yuanyuan nodded vigorously.
In the coming year, Jiang Yuyuan’s biggest wish is to win the all-around competition at the National Games. “I need systematic training. How else could I become champion?”
In order to achieve her goal, Yuanyuan says she needs to work harder in the upcoming winter training. “I need to increase my difficulty everywhere. My beam is a bit better, but I need to up the difficulty on all my other events, but I still don’t know exactly how much.”
(photo: Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images)
Since making her senior debut at the Shanghai World Cup in July 2007, Yuanyuan has seized every opportunity to prove her ability. At next year’s National Games, she will emerge for the first time as the “Elder Sister of Zhejiang,” although Jiang herself resists the title. As she pointed out with an embarrassed smile, “He Ning is older than I am, and more experienced.”
Nonetheless, she is very clear about her goals for the National Games. “First and foremost, I want to win the all-around. As for the other events, we’ll see. If I have the opportunity, I’ll try my hardest to win them, too.”
We have no doubt she will.