February 9, 2009

More Chinese News: Pang Panpan, Yang Yilin, Deng Linlin

Here’s another long overdue update from China...

The Chinese New Year has come and gone, and China’s gymnasts have thrown themselves into preparations for the 2009 competition season. Both the MAG and WAG teams are currently in the midst of winter training, an intensive period devoted to learning new skills, polishing old ones, and making any necessary adjustments for the new Code of Points. Everyone’s top priority this year is undoubtedly the 2009 National Games, to be held in Jinan, Shandong Province, in September (exact dates TBA). The gymnastics portion of this quadrennial multi-sport event is being held a month earlier than other events to avoid scheduling conflicts with the 2009 World Championships in London. A qualifying meet for the National Games will be held in Jinan from May 9-18. (Separate team/AA/EF and individual national championships will also be held this year, dates and locations TBA.)

Pang Panpan
Conspicuously absent from this year’s winter training is perennial fan favorite Pang Panpan, a key member of China’s historic 2006 World Championships team. Reports from China (among other reports, this Sina story) indicate that Pang has returned to the Hebei provincial team, where she is expected to continue preparing for the National Games. The reasons for her dismissal remain somewhat murky; official explanations suggested that she “needs to lose weight,” but since Pang has always been one of the slimmest members of the Chinese team, this rationale seems fishy at best. We think it has more to do with the chronic ankle problems that have hindered her career since late 2006. Whatever the case, we wish Pang Panpan all the best in her future endeavors, gymnastic or otherwise.

Pang Panpan, slender as a willow (photo: Xinhua)

Yang Yilin
We also have a small update on Yang Yilin, whose condition has been the subject of much speculation since she withdrew from the World Cup Final in December. Fans of the Olympic AA bronze medalist will be relieved to learn that, according to Sohu, she has resumed light training after undergoing treatment for what appears to have been a herniated disc in the lumbar spine. If she makes a full recovery, Yang will certainly be a force to be reckoned with at both the National Games and Worlds later this year.

Photographic evidence that Yang Yilin is alive and kicking: Yang and Li Shanshan at a celebration for Guangdong Olympians last month (photo: Nanfang Daily)

Deng Linlin
Also easing off the injured list is Olympian Deng Linlin, who underwent knee surgery in November. According to Ifeng, Deng told Chinese reporters last week that the knee is now pain-free and she’s training hard in the hope of achieving a “major breakthrough” on vault and balance beam, her two strongest events. She also voiced her intention to continue through the 2012 Olympics.

Despite rumors on several message boards, it does not appear that Deng Linlin will compete at the American Cup on February 21. Her name has not been mentioned in any official announcements from either USAG or the Chinese Gymnastics Association.

Deng Linlin in Beijing (photo: Sina)


  1. So sorry to hear about P3. Did she compete in any meets this year other than the Moscow one?

  2. Why would the Chinese Gymnastics Federation lie about Pang Panpan's ankle problems? I would think that, to most people, that would be more of a politically correct explanation than "she needs to lose weight."

  3. mm...rumor is that pang panpan has a boyfriend of two years in the man's team (possibly in the olympic team), and that's the reason why she is sent home--not to distract the boyfriend. too bad i don't know who the boyfriend is.

  4. That rumor is completely unfounded.

  5. very excited about dll hopes for a major breakthough on vault. i think she is capable of doing do a yurchenko 2.5 and a handspring rudi.

    dll is already a major player at world level on bb but i think she can upgrade to a double arbian dismount and/or a layout full.

  6. Yang Yilin is the TRUE Olympic Champion on the bars. He Xexin deserved the bronze, and Nastia deserved silver. He Kexin's "gold" medal is a fucking SHAM!!!

  7. I love all the photos you used in your reports. They are so artistic.

  8. Anonymous 1, no, we don't think she did.

    Kayla, the Chinese are not particularly known for political correctness. But for what it's worth, comments on a person's weight or looks are not considered rude in China. It's completely normal for Chinese people to call each other "Fatty", "Bignose" or whatever aspect of another person's appearance they feel sticks out. So comments on a person's weight are considered acceptable in China, and do not cause the kind of offense or outrage they would in the West.

    Anonymous 2, we are aware of the boyfriend rumor, but we have it on good authority that it's unfounded. We can't often claim inside knowledge, but in this case a source we deem reliable has told us it's patently untrue. We hope that settles it.

    Anonymous 4, we believe an Amanar and a full-twisting layout on beam are entirely within Deng's capacity. We hope she'll get around to showing them off this year.

    Anonymous 5, we like He Kexin a lot, but we agree Yang Yilin should have won that gold medal.

    Anonymous 6, thanks! We do try to come up with beautiful and appropriate photos. :)

  9. awww - I hope Yang Yilin will be alright, the injury sounds really painful! She has such a beautiful style and yes deserved the gold (I really didn't mind who got second but rumour is even Nastia mentioned she thought YYL was underscored)

  10. Any predictions when/where the WAG team will compete next?

  11. 2008 Olympics bars ranking should be: Gold--Yilin Yang. Silver--Kexin He. Branze: Nastia or Beth. All these gymnasts have 7.7 value. Yang has an almost perfect routine with perfect form, beautiful line and a perfect landing. Whatelse do people want from Yang? She definately should have gotten the gold! Though not perfect, Kexin He's routine is innovative, risky and very exciting with 2 combined high fly moves; he deserves a silver. Nastia Liukin has beautiful line but slow with several visible form breaks and a very ugly landing. Beth has incredible power but some errors.

  12. Hi, to anyone reading this :)

    I was just wondering if anyone can help me out, as to whether they know if Yang Yilin (from the People's Republic of China) will be competing in London 2012 and if so, what events???

    It would mean ALOT if someone could help me out :)
    Thanks =)

  13. Does anyone know if Yang Yilin is competing in London 2012? and if so which events?

    Been trying to find this out :)


  14. Hey!
    Deng LinLin is my favourite gymnast by far she's so incredible.If you look up chinese gymnastics training on youtube you see that they definitely deserve first second third place medals. I'm not saying people like Shawn Jhonson or Nastia had to work for their medals, they worked super hard, but in a different way. Those chinese gymnasts deserve 100 medals for what they do. Wish i could be like them, my parents wont let me do gymnastics because they think it's 'dangerous'. It is but lots of things we do are. They don't get some times you simply LOVE something.