'Grand slam' gold brings cheers, firecrackers, and tears to China
A surge of enthusiasm sent China's sports fans into the streets Wednesday when the Chinese women's volleyball team defeated the United States to win an Olympic gold medal.
Communist Party General Secretary Hu Yaobang heard the news at a banquet for North Korean Premier Kang Song-san at the seaside resort of Beidaihe. The two leaders immediately raised a toast to the Chinese team.
''It's always good to be winning,'' Mr. Hu said, according to an article yesterday in the People's Daily.
At the Peking Sportsmen factory, director Wang announced that Olympic team member Lang Ping, a Peking native known here as the ''iron hammer'' for her remarkable spiking skills, would enjoy an unlimited supply of the factory's sportswear for life. The factory is the only one in this city of more than 9 million that makes sports clothes, having outfitted the entire women's volleyball team with its ''Endeavor'' brand sports shirts.
People in major cities throughout China celebrated the the country's 14th gold medal at the Los Angeles games. Firecrackers were popping well into the night in Hubei Province, reported the official New China News Agency.
Hundreds of people walked or rode their bicycles through Tian An Men Square in Peking. Telephone lines at the State Sports Commission were jammed with callers offering congratulations.
Some party cadres tried to use the occasion to rouse support for China's ambitious modernization program.
''If we run our factory and carry out the reforms with the spirit of the women's volleyball team, there is nothing we cannot achieve,'' China Youth News quoted Shi Jianhua, party secretary at the No. 8 wireless factory, as saying. ''So long as we strive with out utmost efforts like they did, we can also make wonders at our own working posts.'' One group of 68 soldiers in the People's Liberation Army serving along the troubled Vietnam border cabled the Sports Commission: ''We feel immeasurably happy and proud over the victory of our women's volleyball team and we could not hold back our tears.''
China has won more than two dozen Olympic medals so far.