Ning Zetao’s first Olympics concluded over the weekend, out of his four heats:
– Scores for two of them were cancelled due to fouls from teammates
– He failed to make it into the finals for the men’s 100 meters swim
– He failed to make it into the semi-finals for the men’s 50 meters swim
– After his two strong showings in regional competitions, Ning Zetao’s performance at the Rio Olympics left many question marks in people’s minds
Ever since getting gold at the 2014 Asian Games, all sorts of glory, attention, and applause has come Ning Zetao’s way.
– He first met them with shy smiles and acceded to fan requests for autographs and pictures
– But fans have notice din recent years that he’s increased the distance between him and fans by wearing masks when going out and turning down requests for autographs
– His every motion and gesture seems to have been previously practiced
– The administrator of his local community swimming center said, “It’s not that he’s changed, he’s still the same honest and kind guy. It’s actually these sort of people who find it hardest to react to situations like these. Reality has forced him to change. There are so many people staring at him everyday that it would be tough for anyone to withstand it all.
Fans with sharp eyes have noted a change on his Weibo biography.
– It used to read, “Member of the Chinese swim team Ning Zetao”, now it merely says “an experienced swimming athlete”
– This may foreshadow his retirement, or possibly just a conflict with the Chinese team again
– Prior to his 100m heat, journalists interviewed a Chinese member of the US table tennis team, Yijun Feng, and his parents, with all mentioning that it looked like Ning Zetao was under enormous pressure