Here's a rundown of some facts and figures on China's Winter Olympic history:
China's Winter Olympic debut: Lake Placid, 1980. China's best result was an 18th place finish in women's slalom ski. In 1984, matters only got worse, as China's top finish was 19 in the women's slalom ski.
China's first Olympic medal: 1992, Albertville, 2 silvers in women's speed skating, 500 meters and 1,000 meters, for Ye Qiaobao (was the first year in the program for speed skating)
First Winter Olympic gold: 2002, Yang Yang won the women's 500 m and 1,000 m in short track skating.
China's rank in medals from Torino 2006: 11 (2 gold, 4 silver, 5 bronze). All were in speed skating except for one gold in men's freestyle skiing aerials (Han Xiaopeng) and silver in women's freestyle skiing aerials (Li Nina)
China's historical Winter Olympic medals: 4 gold, 16 silver, 13 bronze, 33 total
China has historically been very strong in short track/speed skating, which account for 25, or almost 80 percent, of China's winter Olympic medals. Its other Olympic medals have come in figure skating (5) and skiing (3).
China's best shot at the elusive team sports gold is in curling. The Chinese women's team became national heroes when they brought home the world championship earlier this year. The women's ice hockey team has also improved rapidly, but despite their number 7 world ranking, they have very little hope of medaling this time around. Powerhouses USA, Canada, Sweden, Finland and Russia are too dominant.
Tags: China, figure skating, ice hockey, skiing, speed skating, Vancouver 2010, Winter Olympics
Thanks to fast break buckets, unchallenged second shot opportunities and skillful post moves from Leslie and Fowles, the United States scored a lot of its points in the paint and kept its two-point field goal shooting percentage at a high 59 percent.
China played like a well-coached team made up of talented athletes who have played basketball since they were 10 to 12 years old. They made their cuts and set their screens, shot 50 percent from the three-point line and made 75 percent of their free throws. But the US team looked like a group of women who have been dribbling as long as they have been walking. They easily broke China's press and put on a clinic on how to execute low-post moves. They dominated the boards, 48 to 31, and also had three players combine for six blocks.
"We should have done better although we are not as good as them in strength and talent," China's Chen Xiaoli said after the game.
If the USA revealed weaknesses, they would be free throw shooting (64 percent) and three-point shooting (3-for-11).
The Chinese fans continued to show the sportsmanship that they have throughout the tournament, cheering not just for their team but also for particularly impressive plays by the opponent. They have, however, picked up the practice of harassing the free throw shooter with a chorus of boos.
For American fans, it was the first test event that gave them a chance to see some athletes who are household names in the United States—veterans like Leslie and Kara Lawson and rising stars like soon-to-be WNBA rookies Fowles and Candice Wiggins.
"I'm from Connecticut and getting tickets to women's basketball games there is next to impossible," said one Beijing resident. A friend of hers, a fellow expat from Minnesota, said she especially enjoyed the chance to see Team USA compete, since she'd been unable to secure tickets to the Olympic tournament.
The Chinese and American fans get one more look at their teams this Saturday, when the two go head-to-head one more time for the tournament championship.
"We know it's going to be a big game with China the day after tomorrow, so we are really focused today," said USA head coach Anne Donovan.
Image: Good Luck Beijing
Tags: Anne Donovan, basketball, Bian Lan, China, Good Luck Beijing, Lisa Leslie, national team, Sylvia Fowles, USA
Coach Li reportedly told CCTV: "We told Zhou Mi not to work too hard and let Zhang into the final," and "It shows our patriotism and in fact I am proud of it."
As for Zhou's transfer to the Hong Kong delegation, Li painted her as a turncoat in this statement last year to the China Daily: "She should know who [China] cultivated her into a top player. She should know the seriousness of her decision. If she chooses to play for another nationality, she will harm national interests."
Tags: badminton, China, Li Yongbao, match-fixing, Zhang Ning, Zhou Mi
Over the coming weeks, you will see our content grow a lot. Every day, we will bring you news from China's sports and sports marketing world. You will soon see a China sports calendar with everything from marathons and road races you can compete in, to China Basketball Association games you can go and watch. You will also see guides to various sports in China, from primers on China's badminton and diving success to histories of the efforts of the NBA, NFL and NHL in China.
Watch these pages for coverage of the various Good Luck Beijing Test Events for the 2008 Olympics, and the skinny on China's efforts to top the medal standings as it hosts the 2008 games.
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