The media gave a hand in securing Yao Ming his position as the
flag bearer of the Chinese delegation at the 2004 Athens Olympic
Games opening ceremony, a top Chinese sports official said
"Yao Ming has a close relationship with the media, he is
skillful in answering questions and providing journalists with good
quotes," said Li Furong, deputy chef-de-mission of the Chinese
delegation, when elaborating the decisions to pick up Yao as the
flag bearer. "As I know, the international media has praised him a
"Playing in the NBA, Yao also impressed American and
international fans with his good sportsmanship and great
co-operation with teammates," Li added. "He is both a great player
and a good man.
"Taking many aspects of the matter into consideration, Yao is
the best choice to carry the flag."
Li also said he had been watching all of the televised games of
Yao in the NBA.
Xiao Tian, secretary-general of the Chinese Sports Delegation,
revealed on Monday that Yao would carry the flag for China at
tomorrow's opening ceremony.
"He is a man of integrity and has good sense of humor," Xiao
said."Yao is very popular among Chinese kids and represents the
image of the younger generation."
In the past five Olympic Games, the Chinese flag-bearers all
came from the men's basketball team despite a string of poor
Olympic results posted by the roundballers whose best ever finish
was eighth place.
All of them stood over 2 metres with five out of six playing as
(China Daily August 12, 2004)