Just as their favorite song - "Sunshine Comes after Rainstorm" - goes, a smiling Chinese team rallied to remedy their semifinal loss with a consoling bronze medal at the Olympic women's volleyball on Saturday.
Players of China celebrate their victory over Cuba after Women's Bronze Medal Match of Beijing 2008 Olympic Games volleyball event in Beijing, China, Aug. 23, 2008. China beat Cuba 3-1 and grabbed the bronze.
The three-time Olympic champion Cuba finished their Beijing journey with a disappointing fourth place.
Inspired by the deafening cheers of more than 14,000 Chinese fans, the host beat Cuba 25-16, 21-25, 25-13 and 25-20 in the pride-saving match.
"They were so hopeless that I believed they gave up at the third set," said a home fan Yi Sheng, referring to the disappointing performances of the Chinese women in the semifinal against Brazil on Thursday. The defending champion lost surprisingly in straight sets and they only took 14 points in the third set.
"But today, I saw perseverance on them again, the most valuable quality which I think helped them win the Athens gold and will help to overcome the adversities to be stronger in the future, " the 28-year-old sales manager from a Beijing-based oil company told Xinhua after the match.
"In this aspect, the bronze medal means much more than the gold medal," he said.
Due to a slow start, China opened the match with a dismal 2-6, when the ace spikers Wang Yimei and captain Feng Kun scored five points to help the host take over lead 7-6. Though the Cubans followed up closely, the Chinese managed to keep a slight advantage to 14-13.
China launched a stunning 8-2 run to enlarge the gap to 22-15. Wang's service error helped Cuba pull back one point, but her two ace serves helped China take the set 25-16.