XU HAIFENG (1957) China / Shooting
Xu Haifeng is a national hero in China thanks to the fact that he was the country's first Olympic gold medallist. He won the gold at the Los Angeles games of 1984 by winning in the 25 m air pistol event. He has since been national women's team coach and has helped his charges to regularly pick up gold medals at the games.It should be said that when Xu Haifeng won his gold medal in Los Angeles, China believed that this heralded an end to thirty years of sporting and diplomatic isolation. However, just as Xu Haifeng was about to climb on to the podium, organisers realised that there was no Chinese flag at the shooting range. It was necessary to send a helicopter to another site in order to bring a flag back for the playing of the national anthems. A diplomatic incident had been narrowly avoided.