He Zhenliang was praised as a great defender of the Olympic cause and a wise man of many qualities by Jacques Rogge, President of the International Olympic Committee, yesterday at the launch of his book He Zhenliang and China's Olympic Dream
in the Great Hall of the People in Beijing.
Known as China's Mr. Olympics, He Zhenliang helped shape the course of Chinese sports diplomacy for over 50 years, giving direction to some of its greatest events. He was appointed to the International Olympic Committee in 1981, became a member of the Executive Committee of the International Olympic Committee in 1985 and finally vice chairman of the International Olympic Committee in 1989. As honorary president of the Chinese Olympic Committee, he has worked tirelessly to promote the Olympic movement and the principles for which it stands. He has particularly worked among young people to instill in them the spirits and ideas of the Olympic dream.
The book He Zhenliang and China's Olympic Dream, written by He's wife Liang Lijuan, senior journalist at the People's Daily, chronicles He's memories of the sports world. It provides an insider's perspective on the timeline of China's sports history, including the fight against "two Chinas" in international sports organizations in the 1950s, the founding of the Games of the Newly Emerging Forces (GANEFO) in the 1960s, China's return to the IOC Fold in the 1970s, the 1990 Beijing 11th Asian Games, and Beijing's bids for the 2000 and 2008 Olympic Games.
It also records the growth of a common boy who devoted his every effort to sports and the Olympic cause, said Liang Lijuan at the ceremony, adding that the book was dedicated to those who stood and fought alongside He in every battle he faced over the course of his lifetime.
Susan Brownell, who translated the book into English, recalled, "I found the most frequent word in the book was the word 'work' which helped me understand the difficulties of sports diplomacy, and the true extent of Mr. He's achievements."
IOC President Rogge labeled the efforts "a remarkable book about a remarkable man" who served the Olympics all his life. He added that the Olympic Movement would not be in its current position of strength without men like He Zhenliang.
Juan Antonio Samaranch, former president of the IOC, penned the preface to the book, writing "his involvement in the Olympic movement is in proportion with his loyalty to the Olympic Charter and to his country."
Li Zhenguo, editor in chief of Foreign Languages Press which published the book, addressed the launch: "This work is not merely a tribute to Mr. He and his wife but it stands as a gift to the Olympics and a vow of good luck for Games next year in Beijing. We hope, that through this book, the world can gain precious insights into sports and the Olympic movement in China."
He Zhenliang and his wife Liang Lijuan
Susan Brownell, translator of the book
Liang Lijuan with CIPG officials
(China.org.cn by Li Xiao, April 28, 2007)