The Budding Friendship Between Chinese And American Gymnasts Is Warming Hearts

The Budding Friendship Between Chinese And American Gymnasts Is Warming Hearts

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6 hr 25 min agoThe budding friendship between Chinese and American gymnasts is warming heartsFrom CNN’s Jessie Yeung in Hong Kong

American gymnast Simone Biles smiles as China’s Tang Xijing embraces teammate Guan Chenchen at the balance beam final on August 3. (Natacha Pisarenko/AP)Between the trade war, military tensions and coronavirus finger-pointing, it’s been a rough few years for US-China relations.

But the Tokyo Olympics has allowed athletes from both countries to demonstrate what their governments haven’t for years: friendship.

On Tuesday, Chinese gymnasts Guan Chenchen and Tang Xijing won gold and silver respectively in the women’s balance beam final, while US gymnastics star Simone Biles claimed bronze. Both Chinese gymnasts are first-time Olympic medalists.

The win was particularly significant for Guan as the 16-year-old identifies Biles as her hero, according to her biography on the Games’ website.

After the results were announced, a beaming Biles embraced Guan. Her US teammate and all-around Olympic champion Sunisa Lee, who had loudly cheered on Guan during her routine, also hugged Guan. Afterward, Lee posted on Instagram that she was “so proud” of Guan, and retweeted a video of Guan’s dismount from the beam, captioned, “I love her (so much).”

The enthusiastic celebration and the warmth exchanged between the teams — so rarely seen now as US-China relations and public sentiment sour — quickly went viral online.

“We feel the same! This is what it means,” tweeted the official Chinese Olympic Committee, along with a heart emoji and a photo showing the celebration between the four athletes.Even the nationalist Chinese tabloid Global Times chipped in, saying in an article Lee’s “sincere and joyous reaction touched viewers around the world.”

And many on the Chinese social media platform Weibo praised Biles and Lee for their sportsmanship, arguing the kind of camaraderie they shared with Guan and Tang embodies the true spirit of the Olympics.

“No matter where you are from, what race you belong to, what beliefs you have, people in international society should unite together, making human life better,” said one Weibo user, according to state media. “I see that hope at the Olympic Games. These athletes give us a good example.”Editor’s Note: A version of this story appeared in CNN’s Meanwhile in China newsletter, a three-times-a-week update exploring what you need to know about the country’s rise and how it impacts the world. Sign up here.

6 hr 34 min agoUSA women’s basketball team advances to 7th consecutive Olympic gold medal gameFrom CNN’s Jill Martin

The United States’ Breanna Stewart plays in a basketball semifinal against Serbia on Friday. (Aris Messinis/AFP/Getty Images)Once again, Team USA’s women’s basketball team will play in the gold medal game at the Olympics.

The American women defeated Serbia 79-59 in the semifinals Friday to reach their seventh consecutive gold medal game. They’ve won every gold since the Atlanta Olympics in 1996 and boast a 54-game winning streak in Olympic play that dates back to the bronze medal game in 1992.

Brittney Griner — a star in the WNBA with the Phoenix Mercury — led Team USA with 15 points and 12 rebounds. The Americans will await the winner of Japan and France, who will play later Friday in the second semifinal.

The gold medal game will be held Sunday in Tokyo. Should the US win, WNBA stars Sue Bird of the Seattle Storm and Diana Taurasi, Griner’s Mercury teammate, will become the first athletes to win five gold medals in any team sport in Olympic history.

7 hr 5 min agoUSA advances to women’s volleyball final as team aims for first Olympic goldFrom CNN’s Jill Martin

Team United States celebrates after defeating Team Serbia during their volleyball semifinal match on Friday. (Toru Hanai/Getty Images)The United States — with three silvers and two bronzes — has won the most Olympic medals in women’s volleyball without winning gold.

But the Americans earned the chance to change that in Tokyo as they reached the final with victory over Serbia on Friday.

It was a rematch of the two teams’ Rio 2016 semifinal. Five years ago, Serbia won in five sets and went on to win the silver medal. This time, the US beat Serbia in straight sets: 25-19, 25-15, 25-23.

The US has finished on the podium at each of the past three Olympics, with silver in 2008 and 2012, and a bronze in 2016.

The second semifinal will take place later Friday between Brazil and South Korea. The gold medal match is scheduled for Sunday.

7 hr 18 min agoTeam Australia calls on its athletes to show “respect” after drinking incidentIan Chesterman, Chef de Mission of the Australian Olympic Committee, speaks to the media on August 2. (James Chance/Getty Images)Australia’s Olympic Chef de Mission Ian Chesterman called on the country’s athletes to be more respectful following reports of Olympian misbehavior.

Earlier this week, a group of Australian athletes were criticized for their purported “excessive alcohol consumption” and “loud and disruptive” behavior on their flight home from Tokyo.

Chesterman said he has relayed the importance of “mutual respect” to Australia’s Olympic delegation.

Here’s what Chesterman had to say at a news conference Friday:

“I think the message which I’ve preached always is mutual respect. We have great respect for the athletes. We have worked really hard to make sure that they have everything that they need. And we’ve worked really hard with the sports to make sure that they’ve got everything that they need for the athletes as well. And we also then say that there’s a need f

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