With another Olympic gold, Lang Ping rekindles national pride

Source:Global Times Published: 2016/8/21 19:13:39

Coach Lang Ping of China celebrates after the Chinese women's volleyball team beat Serbia 3-1 in the final at the Rio de Janeiro Olympics on Sunday. Photo: IC

Lang Ping once again proved she's a world leader in the sport of volleyball, and has finally proven to her critics that they were wrong to label her a "traitor" years ago.

On Sunday, the Chinese women's volleyball team beat Serbia 3-1 in the final at the Rio de Janeiro Olympics, winning their first Olympic gold medal since coming out on top 12 years ago in Athens and bringing joy to the whole country after a disappointing Olympics for Team China. This victory was achieved in part due to Lang Ping's expert efforts as chief coach.

The public, the media and online commentators unanimously praised her role in winning the hard-earned gold medal, saying she revived the "spirit of women's volleyball" in a young team that has an average age of 24.

As early as 1984, Lang and the other members of the Chinese women's volleyball team beat the host team to win gold at the Los Angeles Olympic Games, China's first Olympics in decades. This ushered in an era in which Team China won five consecutive international champions, greatly boosting national morale and winning Lang the status of national hero.

After that, Lang, unlike many of her teammates that became sports administration officials, decided to leave the sporting spotlight behind and went to the US to study. In the following years she studied and coached foreign teams. However, her decision to leave the country drew lots of criticism at that time, with some even going so far as to brand her a "traitor."

This kind of criticism peaked when she became coach of the US national women's volleyball team in 2005 and led it to victory over China in the semifinals of the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games.

After the Beijing Games, Lang returned to China and became head coach of the Chinese women's volleyball team in 2013. Under her guidance, Team China improved quickly and brought home the volleyball world cup last year.

The Rio Olympics was a particularly tough contest for the team and they performed exceptionally well. Team China triumphed over host team Brazil, the Netherlands and finally Serbia to claim the gold.

For Lang herself, it's the culmination of a remarkable journey home and her legend continues.

Global Times

China's women's volleyball team celebrate their victory. Photo: IC

Lang Ping hugs her player Hui Ruoqi after winning the game.

Zhu Ting of China hits the ball during the match against Serbia. Photo: IC

Lang Ping, then coach of the US women's volleyball team, coaches her players during the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games. Photo: IC


An archived picture taken in 1984 shows Lang Ping celebrating after Team China beat the US to win the volleyball gold medal at the Los Angeles Olympic Games. Photo: IC

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Newspaper headline: Hero’s homecoming

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