China’s two female trampolinists walked out of the Olympic arena with medals around their necks and tears streaming down their faces.
The silver and bronze medals they had earned by finishing behind Canada’s Rosie MacLennan did little to soothe them. The Chinese had come to London to win Gold, but MacLennan won it instead. They said they didn’t care which one of them won it, but they were there to earn Gold for China.
Wenna He (bronze) and Shanshan Huang (silver) have rivalled Canada for the podium at many a big competition. He beat both MacLennan and Canada’s Karen Cockburn at the 2008 Olympics and the 2011 world championships. Huang has taken silver at worlds and won several World Cups.
On Saturday, both Chinese athletes suggested this was perhaps their last Olympics.
“We are here not to compete against each other, but to compete for our country, so it is a regret we didn’t hear the Chinese anthem,” said 23-year-old He, a three-time Olympian. “Also because this might be my last Olympics.”
Cockburn also said this was likely her last Olympics after winning medals at her first three (a bronze and two silver), and narrowly missing in London. One has to wonder what the 2016 Rio Olympic competition would look like with MacLennan there without the top three competitors currently pushing her.
“In my first Olympics, I failed. In my second, I succeeded, and this year, my third, I fulfilled my expectations and got a medal,” said Huang. “This is the last Olympic Games for me. I have done three now. I don’t know if I can qualify for the next Olympic Games.”