A coach plays a very important role in any team. He is the one who takes the lead towards their goals and also has the responsibility for the success or failure of the team. Despite the heavy responsibility, Liu Guoliang accepted the challenge and is currently doing a great job.
Aside from being a great coach, Liu Guoliang was once considered a great athlete as well. In fact, he was responsible for the first ever Olympic gold medal in the Men Singles for the Chinese Team. It took place in the 1996 Atlanta Olympics. Three years after, Liu Guoliang became the first ever Chinese Grand Slam winner.
Liu Guoliang vs Wang Tao 1996 Olympics
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Liu Guoliang vs Ma Lin 1999 World Championships
video kindly shared by TheThomas37300
Despite soaring high in his career as an athlete, Liu Guoliang decided to retire in 2002. Such news actually came as a surprise as the decision came rather early. Swedish legends Jan-Ove Waldner and Jorgen Persson couldn't even believe it. For many of us, Liu Guoliang's decision was based on impulse and was unplanned.
However, Liu Guoliang corrected such impression. "It was a strategic retirement. It came as a sudden for outsiders because it was rather early. Waldner and Persson thought it was unbelievable." Liu Guoliang explained.
"I have already fulfilled my dreams when I achieved the Grand Slam in 1999. I knew about the successful Olympic bid for Beijing on July 13, 2001. That time, I thought that winning the championship title in my own country could be another dream fulfilled. However, when I asked myself if I could still join the Beijing Olympics after six years, I concluded that it was just impossible. So how can I participate? The only answer was "as a coach" as it will ensure my participation." Liu Guoliang added.
Indeed, Liu Guoliang was able to attend the Beijing Olympics. Not as a player anymore but as the head coach of the Chinese Team. After reaching extreme heights in his athletic career, Liu Guoliang once again made another big achievement as his Olympic Team, consisting of Ma Lin, Wang Hao and Wang Liqin swept all the medals available in the Men Singles and Team events.
For Liu Guoliang, the Beijing Olympics is one of the most memorable Olympics season in his life. It was different in all aspects. "There are a lot of Olympic Games but it is only the opening ceremony of the Beijing Olympics that I attended. I enjoyed the feeling as a host. The passion was just unmatched." Liu Guoliang concluded.
This year, Liu Guoliang will be on his third Olympic season as the head coach of the Chinese Men Team. Obviously, the competition now gets much steeper and harder. However, despite such challenges, Liu Guoliang continues to show confidence for his team and hard work to have a repeat of the Beijing Olympics in London.
Photo source: vip.book.sina.com.cn