Volleyball legend Lang Ping bids farewell to her wondrous sports life ‘without regret’
Published: Sep 01, 2021 08:56 PM
Lang Ping Photo:CFP

Lang Ping Photo:CFP

 "May the spirit of the Chinese women's volleyball team remain young forever," Chinese netizens said as they bid farewell to the legendary Chinese volleyball star Lang Ping on Wednesday and cheered for the spirit Lang represented, as she announced her retirement from the head coach of the national women's team in a touching letter that recalled her wondrous career without regret.

"It is truly sad that I had not been able to deliver a satisfactory mission at the Tokyo Olympics, but however the results turned out, I will now have to say goodbye," Lang said in the letter she posted on Sina Weibo. 

"This road has not been smooth, but all the hardships and suffering are worth it simply because I love it… Looking back on my volleyball career of so many years, I am very satisfied and happy," Lang said.

Lang, 60, who was a member of the team that seized five consecutive world titles in the 1980s, earned the nickname "Iron Hammer" during her playing days. She took the helm of the national team in 2013 and quickly helped it return to the top ranks of world volleyball. 

Lang has led China to glory in many major tournaments, capped by the 2016 Rio Olympics with a gold medal win, ending China's 12-year wait for the prestigious Olympic title. However, after the team disappointingly finished in ninth place in Tokyo 2020, the worst result at the Olympics since 1988, Lang announced that she would take the blame and resign.

"My sense of mission and responsibility meant that I dared not relax for even a minute. As I leave my post, I want to say that although I cannot guarantee I've done everything right, I'm sure I have tried my best and worked the hardest every day, and I have no regret," Lang wrote.

She also expressed her good wishes for the future of the team, saying that she believes that the spirit of the national women's volleyball team will be passed on for generations to come.

The spirit of the national women's volleyball team - after five consecutive world titles in the 1980s - has inspired generations of Chinese to push forward. But Lang said it is not only about winning. 

"The spirit of the national women's volleyball team is not only about winning championships. It is about when you know you might not to win, you will also give your best," Lang said. 

"Thank you for letting us and younger generations understand the Chinese Women's Volleyball spirit of never giving up, of unity, and of winning glory for our country!" a netizen said on Weibo, where the topic of Lang quitting as team coach topped the trending list with more than 330 million views and 23,000 discussions as of 7 pm on Wednesday.

"Coach Lang has contributed to training countless world champions for the Chinese Women's Volleyball Team. Without her, the team would not have become such a strong one that, whether at its peak or its low point, it would never be looked down on by any of the world's teams," said another.

"Lang is an unforgettable figure in the world volleyball history, and she is an incredible woman that we should learn from," netizens said.