Fri, August 08, 2008
Sports > Popular News

Ex-gymnast Li Ning to light cauldron for Beijing Olympics

2008-08-08 13:57:18 GMT2008-08-08 21:57:18 (Beijing Time) Xinhua English

Li Ning, 45, won three gold medals, two silver and one bronze in gymnastics at the 1984 Olympics. Known as China's gymnastics prince, he has been garlanded with success. And nowadays, he is a successful businessman with his own sports goods company. (Xinhua File Photo)

BEIJING, Aug. 8 (Xinhua) -- Li Ning, ex-gymnast and now a successful entrepreneur, was selected as the main torchbearer at the opening ceremony of the Beijing Olympic Games, according to a press release just seen on the Games' Info system.

There will be eight torchbearers in all for the last stage of the Beijing Olympic torch relay, which is expected to enter the National Stadium, or the Bird's Nest, in north Beijing for the cauldron lighting at the end of the Games' opening ceremony.

The seven others are shooter Xu Haifeng, diver Gao Min, gymnast Li Xiaoshuang, weightlifter Zhan Xugang, badminton player Zhang Jun, taekwondo athlete Chen Zhong, and volleyball player Sun Jinfang, all Olympic champions of the country who had achieved great sports feats in their career.

Li had won six golds at the 1982 Gymnastics World Cup, leaving a "legend" in the history of world gymnastics.

He won three gold, two silver and one bronze medals in men's gymnastics at the 23rd Olympic Games in Los Angeles in 1984, making him the athlete winning the most medals at that Olympics. He became the only Asian member of the International Olympic Committee Athletes' Commission in 1987.

In 1999, he was selected as one of the Best Athletes of 20th Century in the World by the International Sports Press Association.

Li retired from the national team right after the Asian Games in Seoul. Instead of becoming a coach, he founded a sports clothes manufacturer and developed a brand with his name "Li Ning", which was chosen by the Chinese delegation at the Sydney Olympics.

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