Chinese Gymnast Who Overcame Poverty Breaks Down After Missing Bronze Medal

Chinese Olympic gymnast Shang Chunsong broke down in tears after missing out on a bronze medal by less than a point.

The young gymnast who has faced numerous hardships to make it to the Rio Olympics suffered a devastating 0.633 point loss during the women’s individual all-around. Shang, 20, finished fourth with 58.032 as her Russian competitor, Aliya Mustafina, earned the bronze medal with a 58.665 score.

Shang burst into tears after the scores were finalized. Her teammate Wang Yan, 16, was there to offer words of encouragement. Shang said:

“Actually I didn’t expect I would get anything before the Games, but after the fourth rotation when I saw the result of Aliya Mustalfina was very close to mine, I felt upset at that moment. I thought I could have won a medal.”


U.S. gymnast Simon Biles placed first with a score of 62.198 and her teammate Alexandra Raisman won silver with 60.098.

Shang, the team leader and the oldest of the five female gymnasts from China, grew up in a remote village in Shangjiajie in Hunan province. According to South China Morning Post, the talented athlete lived in poverty with barely enough to eat growing up.

Her visually impaired brother dropped out of school to become a masseur to afford training costs for Shang when she began practicing gymnastics at the age of seven. She has gone on to win 14 gold medals in national competitions and led her teammates to the bronze medal in women’s team gymnastics in Rio this year.

Fans and spectators have suggested that Shang lost in the individual rounds as a result of referees’ bias and tendency to score her lowly. One fan wrote:

“You did not lose because of your performance. You lost because of the referees.”

Another commenter wrote:

“It doesn’t matter that you did not get a medal. You have done a fabulous job.”

Images via DailyMail

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