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Taiwan's badminton win costs China in battle with US for most Olympic golds

Taiwanese badminton win factored into China's defeat in gold medal race with US

Lee (left), Wang holding their gold medals. 

Lee (left), Wang holding their gold medals.  (CNA photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — As the dust settled on the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, the U.S. emerged as the clear winner on the medal table, with Taiwan's badminton win having played a role in raining on China's parade.

As had been the case for much of this Olympics, China was still ahead of the U.S. in gold medals on Sunday morning (Aug. 8), with a count of 38 to 36. However, China failed to win any more golds that day, while the U.S. dominated Japan in women's basketball and took the gold for the first time in women's volleyball and track cycling.

Sunday's gold medals pushed the U.S. over the top with a final count of 39 golds to China's 38. The U.S. also bested China by every other measure, including 41 silvers to 32, 33 bronzes to 18, and 113 total medals to 88.

Among the losses that ate into China's gold medal trove, the most stinging defeat was arguably the Chinese men's badminton loss, with Taiwan's Lee Yang (李洋) and Wang Chi-lin (王齊麟) dusting China's Liu Yuchen (劉雨辰) and Li Junhui (李俊慧) in straight sets 21-18 and 21-12.

During the medal award ceremony, for the first time in Olympic history, Taiwanese athletes stood at the top of the podium as their Chinese opponents watched the white Chinese Taipei Olympic banner rise to the anthem of Taiwan's national flag. After the medal ceremony, Wang wrote his Facebook page: "I am Wang Chi Lin. I am from Taiwan," while Li took to Weibo to congratulate "China's Taipei Team."

Furious Chinese nationalists on China's tightly censored Weibo social media platform described the defeat as "the worst loss in history." Top trending posts on Weibo categorized Liu and Li as "weak" and "trash."

Another loss that impacted China's gold medal haul was when Japan's Mitzutani Jun and Ito Mima defeated China's Xu Xin (許昕) and Liu Shiwen (劉詩雯) in the mixed doubles table tennis event. Afterward, bitter Chinese netizens accused the athletes of having "failed the nation," while others hurled allegations that the referee was biased towards the Japanese duo.

Chinese netizens then tried to pad the medal count by posting a medal tally that included Taiwan, Hong Kong, Macau, giving "China" 42 golds, 37 silvers, and 27 bronzes.

Updated : 2021-09-26 17:31 GMT+08:00