December, 1999

This is the first month I have this web site up. The monthly tribute section is dedicated to Xiao Jun Feng and Meng Fei. They share something in common: reliability--something that most Chinese gymnasts miss. Xiao Jun Feng captured many people's heart when he showed great spirits to continue his performance in 1999 ITC after a painful landing on floor. Amazingly, he threw a super vault followed that and stuck the dismount off the high bar. Meng Fei is a very optimistic and energetic girl, that is the type of personality that I admire. The last reason is very personal: part of my first name is the same as hers.

XIAO Jun Feng

Profile

Name: "xiao" means quiet and desolate; "jun feng" means peak of high and steep mountains

Team: Guangdong

Strong events: vault, floor, high bar

Major Competition Results

2000 Olympic Games: 1st team

1999 Kunming National Championships: 5th AA, 6th FX, 1st VT, 6th HB

1999 National Championships: 2nd AA, 3rd FX, 2nd VT, 6th HB

1997 Lausanne Word Championships: 1st team, 4th VT

Trivia

Unfortunately, Xiao is one of many good gymnasts in China who catches no media attention. He certainly faces tough competition from his younger and healthier teammates for now, as he was only an alternate in Tianjin. There is a long road in front of him to the 2000 Olympics. Wish him healthy and in good shape in the coming year!

MENG Fei

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Name: "meng" has a long history of being a surname, one of its meaning is the first, the chief; "fei" means flourish and fragrance

Birthday: March 22, 1981

Hometown: Beijing

Coaches: Lu Shan Zhen, Liu Qun Lin

Signature Skills: Mo salto (E) on bars; FF-LO-LO, Onodi (E), front somi-half (E) on beam

Favorite events: she likes all of them!

Best friend: Bi Wen Jing

Favorite color: purple

Favorite food: chocolate and vegetables

Favorite gymnasts: Li Li, Svetlana Khorkina

Current status: retired due to thyroiditis; studying at Beijing's Sports University

Major Competition Results

1998 Asian Games: 1st team, 2nd BB

1998 Goodwill Games: 4th AA, 4th FX

1998 National Championships: 4th AA

1998 American Cup: 2nd AA

1997 Trophee Massilia: 1st UB

1997 Lausanne Word Championships: 3rd team, 5th AA, 2nd UB, 4th FX

1997 8th National Games: 2nd team, 1st AA tie

1996 China Cup: 1st AA

1995 World Championships: 2nd team, 22nd AA

1995 China/Belarus/USA trimeet: 2nd AA

Trivia

Articles about Meng Fei

I only found two articles about Meng Fei after she retired. Both were taken from the Chinese Sports Newspaper, the first one on April 16, 1999, the second one on October 8, 1999.

Best Wishes to Meng Fei

When my colleague told me that the 17-year old Meng Fei [actually she was already 18] got thyroiditis and would be unlikely to compete anymore, I was surprised: "Is this true? In Bangkok Meng Fei was still actively competing, and she did a good job for the Asian Games gold team. How did she get sick so suddenly? Especially she is talking about retirement now? " To prove this, I made a call to Meng Fei.

"It is true." I heard her unique soft and hoarse voice. "I got sick after the Asian Games. My temperature was once 39.8 degrees. After that I got tired easily, I could not do a handstand, which is a very simple move, also my heart rate turned fast when I tried to do any exercise. At the beginning my coach just thought that my strength had not covered yet, but I didn't get any better, then I went to the hospital to have a check. The result was, I've got thyroiditis."

"Did you try any treatment?"

"It's mainly rest and medication." Meng Fei told me, although she was resting at home, but both her parents had to work. They couldn't stay with her all day. "Therefore most of the time I stay home alone."

"You're living without your teammates, and you don't always have your parents with you, don't you feel lonely?"

She laughed: "No, I feel quite relax. I read books, and I sleep in, I go out when I have nothing to do. All of these were impossible for me before. Now I have more time to do things I want to do, it's a good feeling!"

"Do you miss your teammates?"

"Yes." She paused, "In fact I feel not resigned to retire at this moment. I've been training gymnastics for so many years, and I haven't been a World champion once, many times I was fractions of an inch from it. This year the World in Tianjin is also the qualification for the Olympics. I was going to try my best for it, and I had big chances, but I became sick..."

"If you are not a gymnast, you might be sitting in a university and studying now. Do you feel regret of your choice?"

"Not at all!" She was very decisive this time. "Although I have pity (no World champion title), but gymnastics has brought me a lot of fun, like when I achieved something, when I overcame the difficulty... A normal person would not have this kind of experience. Gymnastics is for brave people. No matter when I think about my past, I would feel proud about it."

"What plans do you have for the future?"

"I want to get cured first, then I will choose a good school, and study quietly for a few years, to gain more knowledge." Meng Fei said: for practicing gymnastics, she has not experienced a normal academic life. Her friends Mo Hui Lan and Zhou Duan are both studying in university now. Lanlan is at the People University, Zhou Duan is at the Bei Jing Sports University. Meng Fei has not decided which school and what discipline she would go to, but she revealed that she's learning English by herself, she might choose a profession related to English in the future.

Best wishes to Meng Fei! Best wishes to Meng Fei!

(end)

Meng Fei Is Very Beautiful

Compared with her teammates, the pretty Liu Xuan, the bright Bi Wen Jing, and the cute Kui Yuan Yuan, Meng Fei is a less noticeable girl. But from this girl, I realize that being ordinary is also a beauty.

I am a journalist on training. Last year I had the chance to represent the Beijing Cable Channel to interview Meng Fei, who is a gymnast from Beijing. When I first approached Meng Fei, who was the most successful female gymnast in 1997, I only had one word in my mind--"ordinary". When I first saw her, she gave me a sweet smile and asked me how I was doing. That really brought her close to me (I was only 16).

During the interview, she peacefully said, although she was the most successful girl in 1997, but when she gradually aged, she had little hope to compete in the 2000 Olympics. Because she didn't have strong basic skills, that really hampered her from developing higher level gymnastics. She was not regretful for that, she was satisfied with what she has achieved, as long as her team would continue to be prosperous. I was surprised that she was so candid.

Every time I got off from school, I had to walk to the training center. There I often tried to look for Meng Fei's face from a squad of girls. Every time she saw me, she always walked to me and smiled. Sometimes I asked her some technical questions; sometimes we had a quick chat. Looking at her, she was just as close to me as a neighbor girl.

Last year's National Championships was taken in Tianjin. We set up an arrangement that I would go to Tianjin to watch the competition. I wanted to know how a gold medal would look like. In the following weekend, I went to Tianjin.

I was so excited, that Meng Fei was first in prelims. It was expected that she would also win in the finals. But gymnastics is such a dynamic sport. Both Huang Man Dan and Meng Fei were third in the finals. Meng Fei had to settle to fourth since her highest event score was lower. I was standing on a spot so close to her, I just didn't know how to console her. 1998 was such a difficult year to Meng Fei, and the AA medal just slipped from her hand. The medal ceremony began, the whole gym was full of applause and cheering. Meng Fei, who was sitting on the edge, could not leave the field. She had tears on her face. That might be the only time that she cried in a competition. On that day, only when the gym was near empty, Meng Fei then started packing and slowly left the place. Outdoor, it was coincident that some fans saw her and asked her for autograph. I thought she would refuse them. I was wrong. She tried her best to give them a smile. She was so quiet, she received pen and notebook from everyone and sighed her name seriously. I was hidden at a corner, found myself in tears. I believe that would be Meng Fei's most handsome autograph. At that moment, Meng Fei became so beautiful, so bright to me.

At the beginning of this year, I received a greeting card from Meng Fei. I was very surprised and encouraged, but at the same time, I knew that she was retired. I could not help but feel sad at that instant. I truly wish Meng Fei will be beautiful forever! And may our world be beautiful forever too!

(end)

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