World champion Yang Wei eyes to return to Olympic stage as judge

Chinese legend gymnast Yang Wei, winner of three Olympic gold medals, has expressed his eagerness to take part in the Tokyo Olympic Games in 2021, as a judge.

“I have worked as a judge for almost eight years, I’d like to work as a judge and as a member of the Chinese Gymnastics Association in the Tokyo Olympic Games,” Yang told Xinhua.

Yang served as a senior judge at the 2020 Chinese Artistic Gymnastics Championships held in Xi’an, the capital city of northwest China’s Shaanxi province, from October 22 to 25, 2020.

“A senior judge is similar to the technical delegate in international tournaments. In the domestic tournament, a senior judge guides the judges’ work in the events, deals with issues about the competition and techniques, and ensures the competition is held on schedule,” said Yang.

“Besides, the senior judge also monitors judges’ after-work life during the tournament so as to make sure the competition results are objective and fair.”

The job has provided the 40-year-old with a brand new understanding of the sport.

“When I was a gymnast, all I thought about was how to finish my moves well. That would be enough. But when I sat beside the court as a judge, I came to realize how the scores came out. Judges are the ultimate standard of athletes’ moves.”

In 2021, Chinese elite gymnasts will attend two major tournaments, the Tokyo Olympic Games and China’s National Games, in a two-month period. The Tokyo Olympic Games is set to be held on July 23 to August 8, while the National Games is scheduled to be held on September 15 to 27 in Xi’an.

The tight schedule, Yang said, will pose a big challenge for the athletes. In order to get them adequately prepared, two national competitions were held this autumn.

“The athletes may have insufficient rest between the major competitions. But I don’t think it is a huge problem. I experienced such difficulties in my career,” said the former world champion, “I suggest gymnasts find out their disadvantages before the winter training session so as to solve their problems before the Olympic Games.”

Since his retirement in 2009, Yang has had his hand in several different professions. He appeared on reality shows, worked as an artistic gymnastics commentator and opened a gymnastics club.

Yang told Xinhua that through all these efforts, he hoped he could help promote gymnastics among ordinary people.

“The foundation of all other sports comes from gymnastics. I think all children should be introduced to gymnastics. I hope more and more people could love the sport,” Yang said.

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