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Love Ties Olympic Champions with Sichuan
    2008-10-07 18:40:42     CRIENGLISH.com
This is a charity event, but not an ordinary one, coming just after the conclusion of the Olympics and the earthquake that ravaged Sichuan province in May.

In the night of Sept. 30th, Chinese Olympic champions auctioned off personal belongings used during the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games and donated the proceeds to school reconstruction efforts in Sichuan province.

In the night of Sept. 30th, Chinese Olympic champions auctioned off personal belongings used during the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games and donated the proceeds to school reconstruction efforts in Sichuan province.  [Photo: CRIENGLISH.COM]

The auction, is sponsored by China Sports Foundation and the Chinese Athletes Education Foundation.Since Sichuan is an area with lots of rain, physical education would be greatly improved if there was an indoor gymnasium at the local school. To remedy the problem, the Chinese Athletes' Education Foundation has planed to set up playgrounds for the quake-affected schools.

Li Ning, who lit the cauldron of Beijing Olympic Games,is a former Olympic champion and one of the founders of the Chinese Athletes' Education Foundation.

"The money we raised today will be used to build school playgrounds. The students in schools need healthy lifestyles, which sports can bring to them."

Former sports champions such as Li Ning and Li Yongbo attended the auction, which featured items donated by this year's Olympic champions, Li Xiaopeng, Zou Kai, Lin Dan, and Xie Xingfang.

"I feel greatly honored to attend this activity. I am happy that I can help more people through our efforts. I hope more people get involved with charity so children from Sichuan can live happy lives."

"I think an excellent athlete should not only perform well in the sports field but also in daily life. I hope through our joint efforts, we can help more people in need."
"I really hope I can do something to help the earthquake victims."

"It is our duty to contribute to charity."

Olympic table tennis gold medalists Zhang Yining, Ma Lin, and Wang Liqin donated their rackets to the auction. The racket used by Zhang Yining in the Olympic women's singles semifinal sold for 400,000 yuan, the highest price among the rackets.

Diving queen Guo Jingjing donated a swimsuit worn in the Olympic women's 3-meter springboard synchronized matches.

"We wore the swimsuit not only when we were training, but also during the Olympic Games."

Men's gymnastics champions offered up six suits worn during the group competition. They were all bought by one individual for 500,000 yuan after fiercely competitive bidding.

The most precious item was an Olympic-themed stamp scroll comprising images of the Olympic torch relay cities. It was autographed by all twenty-three Olympic champions who participated in the auction. A Zhejiang businessman walked away with it for one million yuan.

"I always want to help charity, and today I realized my dream."

Chinese gymnast Zou Kai originally decided to auction one of his three Olympic gold medals at the party. But he changed his mind and will auction off it later in Hong Kong, along with teammate Yang Wei's silver medal.

The 23 Olympic gold medalists who attended the auction raised a total of 19.18 million yuan for the earthquake victims, Li Ning says.

"We estimated that every 500,000 yuan can be used to construct a school playground. As we start construction, we will continue trying to raise money to do as much as we can to help them."

(Reporter: Liu Bing, Wang Wenwen)


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