In China, it’s the women who have traditionally racked up the medals. At the 2000 Games in Sydney, the Chinese women won five more gold medals than the men. In Athens in 2004, the women won 19 gold medals, while the men won 12. By comparison, American women accounted for 12 of the nation’s 35 gold medals in 2004.
Although many Chinese athletes have yet to qualify for their 2008 Olympic berths, women are widely expected to outdo the men again this summer. Wrestling coach Zhang Zhetian says the country’s best odds for a wrestling medal lie with the women’s team. His reasoning? Women work harder. “Guys — you’ve got to push them more,” he says.
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