Ling Jie is one of the most successful Chinese gymnasts. She is a World champion on beam and a World bronze medalist and Olympic silver medalist on bars.

Ling was a member of the bronze medal winning team at 1999 Worlds and 2000 Olympics but the medal was stripped in 2010 after one of the team members was found to be underage during the competitions.

In her second interview with WOGymnastika, She opens up about the incident of getting stripped of her medals, the accusations regarding the Chinese gymnasts age, the future of her gymnast Zeng Siqi and her career as a gymnast.

Valerie: The “Ling turn” which you have created has become popular among gymnasts, and you are one of the gymnasts who actually started the trend of including difficult pirouetting skills on bars. How do you feel about that? 
 Ling: I am happy that I have created that skill because pirouetting skills are more suitable for Chinese athletes. We have more flexible joints that are suitable for doing full turns on bars, while foreign athletes, with more powerful muscles, can execute releases better. But of course, we have to choreograph routines with respect to individual athletes’ strengths and needs. It is also important to strike a balance between a variety of skills. I personally prefer combinations of pirouettes and releases, or release + release, allowing smooth transitions and flow

Valerie: Did you find it difficult to learn the skills you performed? 
 Ling:  I was always a technician and I learned skills quite quickly. However, the back handspring to Onodi combination on beam did take me some time to master. Also, on bars, I had successfully trained the Kovacs when I was 12. But due to growth and other concerns, I stopped training it later. 

Valerie: Have you corresponded with you your teammates after retirement? 
 Ling: We still interact with each after. Some of my teammates have become coaches, some are teaching in universities. I correspond less with Dong Fangxiao since she and her husband are abroad in New Zealand, and she is coaching gymnastics in a club while coping with her studies. 

Valerie: Who do you think will post the greatest threat to Team China in the next few years? 
 Ling : It will be the teams from the US, Russia and Romania, especially the American team, it is a very strong team. 

Valerie: The FIG has been emphasizing on artistry this quad. As a coach, what do you think of Team China’s artistic ability? 
 Ling: Our girls’ artistry still has plenty of room for nurture and improvement. In our program, we will emphasize on flexibility training, and coaches will collaborate with dance tutors to help athletes work on body shaping and artistic expression. 

Valerie: Your student Zeng Siqi has shown great potential. What can we expect of her in the future? 
 Ling: She is a graceful touch to her movements, and the judges love her. However, this athlete is not physically strong, and she does not immerse herself 100% into her training at times, so her future, the likelihood of making the Olympics, really depends on her attitude. 

Valerie: There have been quite a few controversial statements made by different countries this year. What do you think about this atmosphere? 
 Ling: I think that this trend is definitely not good. Though gymnastics is competitive, and we all want to win, we still have to respect one another. 

Valerie: After more than half of your life into gymnastics, how will you describe the apparatuses? 
 Ling: Vault and floor requires athletes with stronger leg coordination. Bars and beam is the combination of technical excellence and grace. 

 Valerie: Finally, how will you describe the 2000 Olympic WAG team in a sentence? 
 Ling: We persevered, we fought hard, and we fulfilled our dream. 

Written by Valerie-Valya Theodora Ko
Axact

WOGymnastikA

WOGymnastikA is a blog turned website which brings you the latest updates on women’s artistic gymnastics as well as exclusive interviews with your favorite gymnasts. If you are interested in joining our team, please contact us on wogymnastika@gmail.com .

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