China’s teenager gold medalist sees supports from whole country for her wish to cure ill mother
Published: Aug 08, 2021 09:23 PM
Quan Hongchan of China smiles after competing in women's diving 10-meter platform final at the 2020 Summer Olympic Games on August 5, 2021, in Tokyo, Japan. Photo: CFP

Quan Hongchan of China smiles after competing in women's diving 10-meter platform final at the 2020 Summer Olympic Games on August 5, 2021, in Tokyo, Japan. Photo: CFP

Snacks, game machines and medical services have poured into the family of Quan Hongchan, the 14-year-old gold medalist at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, after the story of the talented diver striving to win the Games to support her low-income family and earn money for the treatment of her ill mother deeply touched Chinese people and triggered a moving response from society. 

As the youngest athlete among China's delegation, Quan amazed audiences around the world on Thursday with her incredible performance in the women's 10-meter platform, including three perfect-10 dives and a record-breaking total score of 466.20. 

Quan immediately became one of the most-discussed Olympic athletes on Chinese social media and a "sweetheart" of many people not only for the spiky-haired snack-loving girl's likeable persona, but also for her maturity and good heart after it came to light she was supporting a low-income family of seven.

Quan said she wanted to "make a lot of money" to cure her mom's disease and visit an amusement park, which she has never been to. 

Quan's efforts have paid off and her dream is coming true. A hospital in her hometown Zhanjiang, South China's Guangdong Province announced on Friday that it would provide a full range of medical services for her mother as well as her sick grandfather. The hospital officials said they were proud of the Olympic champion and were more than willing to help out her family. 

Other groups also joined the "reward ceremony" for her. Three enterprises in Zhanjiang will provide her with a house, tuck shop and bonus to her, according to the Zhanjiang City Federation of Industry and Commerce. Several amusement parks, zoos and resorts said they would offer lifetime free pass for Quan and her family. A local businessman even offered 200,000 yuan in cash to Quan's father, but was declined. 

Over past three days after Quan's winning, her family has received floods of guests coming around to offer congratulations, many sending boxes of the snacks and game machines that Quan likes. "She deserves all the glory and gifts," said one netizen on Sina Weibo. 

The passion for the young champion's family, however, has appeared to become overly heated after some fans and internet celebrities tracked down to her village home causing local traffic chaos. Reports claimed some live-streamers even intend to climb up the trees planted at her house and take a jackfruit as souvenir. 

A resident from Quan's village, also surnamed Quan, told the Global Times on Sunday that the village is now closed for outsiders, including her relatives, as a large gathering of people is contrary to epidemic prevention and control regulations. 

He said there were people coming to the village for livestreaming even after midnight or in the rain.

Besides, reports saying the flood of people had caused burden for Quan's family prompted netizens to criticize the irrational behaviors of the crazy "fans." 

"Although her achievements are worth acknowledging by the whole society, she is, after all, a teenager whose purity and simplicity need to be protected from frantic idolization," said one media observer.