Romantics all over China have had their imaginations captured by the athletic power couples, one or the other of which will represent the country at the upcoming London Olympic Games. These couples have attracted media attention not only with their sporting prowess, but also with their unique love stories.
Du Li and Pang Wei
Pang Wei (L) and Du Li will compete in the shooting event at the London Olympic Games. [xinhuanet.com]
As the members of the Chinese Olympic team were revealed this month, Du Li and Pang Wei came into the spotlight. They are both set to defend their shooting championships at the event.
The couple, who got married after winning gold medals at the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games, took a break from their careers and returned only a year ago. They are China's first married couple to participate in the games together.
Zhu Min and Jiang Kelu
This is the first time that Zhu Min (L) and Jiang Kelu will participate in the Olympic Games. [xinhuanet.com]
Zhu Min and Jiang Kelu, part of the Chinese fencing team, are planning to get married at the end of the year.
Wang Na and Cai Yun
Wang Na and her husband, Cai Yun [xinhuanet.com]
Wang Na is a synchronized swimmer, and Cai Yun is a badminton player. Cai will attend the London Olympic Games this year.
Tan Xue and Wang Jingzhi
Wang Jingzhi (L) and Tan Xue [xinhuanet.com]
Wang Jingzhi and Tan Xue are in the Chinese national saber fencing team. Wang will attend the Olympic Games this year. A romantic at heart, he kisses a ring on his finger after each win, as it was a gift from Tan.
Hu Mei and Zhu Fangyu
Hu Mei (L) and Zhu Fangyu got married after the Beijing Olympic Games. [xinhuanet.com]
Before the above photo was taken at the closing ceremony at the Athens Olympic Games, Hu Mei and Zhu Fangyu were complete strangers who had never even spoken to each other. However, Hu, a gymnast, soon became one of Zhu's strongest supporters. Zhu is a basketball player.
After the Beijing Olympic Games, the couple got married and Zhu will participate in the upcoming London Olympics.
Li Na and Jiang Shan
Li Na with her husband and coach, Jiang Shan [xinhuanet.com]
Li Na's stellar tennis career began in 2004. Since then, her then-coach and now-husband, Jiang Shan, has accompanied her each step of the way.
Their relationship has not been without its ups and downs. At the Australian Open Tennis Championship in 2008, Li yelled at her husband and pushed him out of the court in front of spectators and on live television. However, far from becoming angry, Jiang quietly sneaked back in and watched his wife finish the game.
"When I've just played against a difficult opponent, I sometimes let off steam by taking it out on him, but there is nothing wrong with our relationship," said Li after that game.
Li will participate in the London Olympics, with her husband at her side.
Zhang Qiuping and Wang Yifu
Wang Yifu and his wife Zhang Qiuping will attend this year's London Olympic Games together. [xinhuanet.com]
Wang Yifu and Zhang Qiuping are the legendary couple of the Chinese sporting world. The two met in 1983 and both competed in the Seoul Olympic Games as sports shooters in 1988.
In 2004, Wang retired after winning his last gold medal in the shooting event at the Athens Olympic Games and began to work as a coach for the Chinese team.
This year, they will attend the London Olympic Games together again as coaches for China's shooting team.
Xie Xingfang and Lin Dan
Xie Xingfang (R) and Lin Dan are often compared by the media to ancient Chinese warriors. [xinhuanet.com]
Xie Xingfang and Lin Dan, both Chinese badminton players, are often described by the media as a pair of ancient Chinese warriors.
Lin Dan, a four-time world champion and the reigning Olympic champion, will compete at the London Olympic Games with the support of his wife. Xie retired after the 11th Chinese National Games in October 2009.
(Source: xinhuanet.com/Translated and edited by womenofchina.cn)