Chinese fencers Tan Xue and Wang Lei ended China's 12-year
Olympic medal drought when they collected two silver medals at the
Athens Olympic Games Tuesday evening.
World champion Tan Xue came second to Mariel Zagunis of the
United States in the women's sabre while Wang Lei lost to world
number one Marcel Fischer of Switzerland 15-9 in the final.
Tan Xue displayed her overwhelming power on her way to the
final, in which she met a fierce challenge from Zagunis, who won
the gold medal bout 15-9.
Starting her sports career as a hurdle sprinter when she was a
kid, Tan was selected into the track and field team of Tianjing
Sports Education School in 1998 and switched to fencing the same
Inspired by a film about Zorro, a legendary Spanish hero who
used a sword to fight against evil governors, Tan quickly became
one of the most promising stars in China and won the national
championship the following year.
The left-handed Tan became the first Chinese to win a gold medal
at the world championships in 2002, offering China the best shot of
the gold medal of individual events in Athens.
"I didn't find a good strategy to deal with Zagunis' attack. I
feel sorry that I didn't win the gold medal, but it's a good
experience and could be a boost of my career," Tan said.
Swiss world No.1 fencer Fischer lived up to the expectation to
win the first gold medal for the Switzerland in Athens.
Wang Lei's silver medal is the only individual medal for the
Chinese male fencers in the Olympic history.
His previous best results were third place finish in the World
Cup in 2000 and the runner-up of the world junior championships in
"I have nothing to lose so I didn't feel any pressure," the
23-year-old Wang said. "I've tried my best and got the best out of
it.I'm excited. I feel I can play like this all the way in the
(Xinhua News Agency August 18, 2004)