On Friday, China's Cao Lei proved to be the strongest woman in the 75 kilogram division weightlifting final. She managed three new Olympic records on her way to gold. Will Black takes a closer look at the hard work and sacrifice behind the champion's great success. Cao Lei is from North China's coastal city Qinhuangdao. Born in 1983, she has won several championships in the past years.
Cao Lei is from North China's coastal city Qinhuangdao. Born in 1983, she has won several championships in the past years.
Name: Cao Lei Height: 1.68m Weight: 75kg Performances: 2005, Champion of the East Asia Sports Games 2006, Champion of Doha's Asia Sports Games 2007, World champion
This simple training room at Qin Huang Dao Sports School is where Cao Lei's Olympic dream started.
15 years ago, the 10-year-old girl began her successful sports career.
Li Ting, weightlifting coach of Shanhaiguan Sports Bureau, said "This barbell was once used by Cao Lei. It has been used in training for 20 years. With such simple equipment, we cultivated a world champion. Cao Lei made tremendous efforts during the process."
The young girl's painstaking work has left an impression on everyone at the school. She was always the last to leave the training room.
When talking about her development, many people agree her father, Cao Guochen, played a pivotal role in her success.
In his younger years, he was a weightlifter in his hometown. He says he has been very strict with his daughter, and has pushed her very hard, because he knew one day she would be a champion.
Cao Lei's father Cao Guochen said, " At that time, I sat behind her watching her practicing. My daughter shouldered the barbell, with tears on her face."
Two years ago, Cao Lei followed her coach's advise and shifted from the 69kilo to 75kilo weightlifting division. After a period of adapting and training, she made great strides in many competitions.
Some of her teammates say Cao Lei is always at her best in the big competitions. With her golden results at her first Olympic Games, there is no doubt she will lift more success in the future.
(CCTV August 16, 2008)