Olympic gymnastics title contenders suddenly have one more thing to worry about other than the eight gold medals China claimed at the Tianjin World Cup last week. Her name is He Kexin.
The 16-year-old newcomer to the national team, who was recruited last year, has raised a lot of eyebrows recently after she broke two world records on the uneven bars in as many months. She will be just one more weapon on an already star-studded Chinese Olympic squad.
He Kexin of China performs during the uneven bars event at the World Cup in Tianjin on May 15.
The Wuhan native brought her dazzling show to Tianjin, scoring 17.200 points in her routine on May 14. That broke the previous record of 16.850, which she set a month ago at the Cottbus World Cup.
With less than 80 days until the Beijing Olympics, where Chinese gymnasts will be among the medal favorites, He hopes to win China its first uneven bars gold medal in 16 years.
"Many people say we are short of talent on the uneven bars or that we lag behind the Americans, but that's not true," He said in Tianjin. "I can't wait to go out and prove them wrong."
"The high score I had this time surprised me too, but I am not thinking about keeping it at the Games. I want to get an even higher score to beat all my rivals in August."
China's previous uneven bars gold came in 1992 when Lu Li dominated the Barcelona Games. That was the first one since "Uneven-Bars Princess" Ma Yanhong won one at the 1984 Los Angeles Games.
A complete team
National team head coach Huang Yubin said with the emergence of He, China is finally a complete team.
"He not only brings China another chance for a gold medal, she shows the world we are an all-around team that is able to compete against the best teams in the world," the coach said.
"She is the best athlete on uneven bars that I have seen in 20 years. The talent is here, now what we need to do is tell her how to manage it."
He won her first national title at the Chinese City Games last year, leading Huang to draft her onto the national team a month later. She went on to win two consecutive World Cup titles this year in Doha and Cottbus.