After reaching the highest point of her career in 2008, Cheng Fei, the hero of the Chinese women's gymnastics team, faced a tough road in the following quad. In late 2015, she was finally ready to recall those tough moments of her final competitive days. 

In a television broadcast, Chen Fei opened up the battle with herself while preparing for the Beijing Olympics. 

“It was very painful leading up to 2008, but since I got relatively good results, that masked my problems, but they were still there. Initially in 2009, I planned to compete in the National Games, then the Worlds……I did not expect good results, but just to enjoy the competition. But still things did not turn out as I thought.” 

It was Cheng Fei’s ACL tear, which she suffered from in 2009,  that kept her from ending up her career as she wished. “I was left helpless that I could not even retire smoothly. For about a year, I wanted to escape from reality.”

Falling on vault and floor exercise at Beijing Olympics event final where she was expected to win gold, the Olympics became a haunting memory . She felt extremely nervous when recalling her preparation for the 2008 Olympic Games. At one point, she was emotionally triggered by just hearing the tune of the Olympics' theme song.

Fortunately, for Cheng Fei, things got better after she retired. Although her injury prevents her from keeping up with a physically active lifestyle, her life is pretty much sports-oriented. 

She is now an assistant professor in her alma mater, and is very involved in promoting Happy Gymnastics in China. She is continuing to reach new heights in her career as a sports educator, and is making more impact to the community than when she was an athlete. Nothing can stop her from spreading her wings, because flying is what she is born to do. 

As she said, “I am motivated to live every day with a purpose.”

Written by Valerie Theodora Ko



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