This is Witness the Wonder, the Preview to the 2023 World Champs in Budapest for Day 25, May 12, 2023.
For the next 20 days, RunBlogRun will be posting a story a day on the buildup to the World Athletics Outdoor Championships, to be held in Budapest, Hungary, from August 19-August 27, 2023.
Today, we will speak about Lijao Gong.
Lijao Gong took the gold medal in the Women’s shot put in the much-delayed Olympics, Tokyo 2021, and became the first athlete in China to ever win a track and field athlete.
LiJao Gong has spent 21 years training for the shot put. She has competed in eight world championships, winning two, silver in two, bronze in three, and her worst finish, sixth back in Osaka in 2007. In her four Olympic appearances, she took gold (2021), silver (2012), bronze (2008), and 4th in 2016!
After her first gold in London 2017 World Champs, LiJao told the media, “I have been dreaming about winning gold at World Championships and Olympics since I began practicing shot put throw.” “I did it at World Championships today and will do better in the Olympics.”
LiJao Gong wins her first gold, London 2017 WC, photo by Mike Deering/TheShoe Addicts
This writer has seen all of her Olympic appearances and (2008, 2012, 2016 Live, and 2021 remotely) and all 8 of her World Championship appearances Live.
LiJao Gong is part of one of the biggest stories in Global Athletics, the rise of Chinese athletics in technical events over the last three decades.
Way back in 1975, one of the very first competitions between the US and China took place in track and field. The US team dominated the meet, but it was clear then that China could become a great athletics power.
Over the past five decades, China has developed athletes in the sprints, jumps, throws, distances and walks.
LiJao Gong has thrown 19.66 meters so far this season, with five competitions. In 2022, LiJao Gong was surprised by the big throw of Chase Ealey, who took gold on her first throw of 20.49m. Li Jao had improved, throw after throw, but could only reach 20.39m, and her quest to have three gold medals in a row was ruined.
This writer suspects that LiJao Gong will be ready to throw the big steel orb with Chase Ealey in Budapest, and we should see some real fireworks there! The 33-year-old thrower would love to add another medal to her medal cabinet, and Budapest would be the place to do it!
Hold onto your seats, friends; the Women’s shot put will be something to behold.
To read all of our earlier stories in Witness the Wonder, numbers 1-24: