SEM Undergraduate Student YI Siling Takes First Gold for China at London Olympics
August 01, 2012
Under incredible pressure to win the 2012 Olympics' first gold, Chinese women's sharpshooter and undergraduate student of Tsinghua SEM YI Siling's mettle won the medal.
Chinese women's sharpshooter YI Siling showed steel nerves on July 28 when she took the gold - the first of the 2012 Olympics - at the women's 10m air rifle at the Royal Artillery Barracks.
China's State councilor and sports minister were in the stands. Back home, millions were watching on live TV.
YI won with a total of 103.9 points, 0.7 points ahead of second-place winner Sylwia Bogacka of Poland. Chinese shooter Yu Dan took the bronze.
"Now, I feel like a star," a relieved Yi said after the competition.
China is known for an obsession with the first gold medal of the Olympics - many believe it portends for later success in the Games - which put extra pressure on shooters in the women's 10m air rifle, the first event to produce gold in almost every Games.
"It is a huge relief," YI said, then tearfully hugged her coach after the victory.
The Hunan native admitted the expectation to inspire the entire delegation with a gold at the first event was too much pressure for her and almost crushed her before that crucial eighth shot.
"I started to get pretty nervous from the first shot. I didn't even know what I was doing at the beginning," said YI, who couldn't help but weep after releasing all the pressure.
When she was down 0.3 points after the seventh shot, YI tried to calm herself by walking away from the range, sipping water from her red cup while focusing her breath, and then picking up her rifle to shoot that decisive shot.
YI scored 10.7 points to take back the lead and eventually won the match.
"I guess it's because of my lucky cup," she said.
"It has the same colors as the national flag. Maybe it brought me some good fortune."
Even her opponent gave her credit for her solid mental control.
"It's not like that in Poland. People didn't expect too much of me," said Bogacka, who was shocked by the huge media attention focused on YI.
"Now, I know how hard it is for her (to handle). So, I am kind of happy that I wasn't the winner."
"It's really hard to come back from behind and win at last. Your hard work paid off."
YI said now she cannot wait to return home to take care of her sick father.
YI entered the national camp after qualifying for the Games last summer and then spent two hours a day to hone her aim and mental control in the nine months away from her family.
"My father has been struggling with hypertension but always cares about my competition," said YI, a first-time Olympian.
"So, I am happy that I didn't let him down, and I definitely want to go back to look after him right now. What I am desperate to do is to go home and see my parents because I haven't seen them for more than a year."
（Based on China Daily）