The Chinese Olympic Committee also posted an image of Sunisa Lee and Simon Biles looking affectionately at Guan.
America and China have not had the best of relations in recent years, with escalations on multiple fronts including technology, military, and on the issue of Coronavirus. The Tokyo Olympics has shown that the animosity of the government need not necessarily translate down to the athletes of both countries, who share a friendship. There were multiple instances of athletes from both nations enthusiastically cheering each other on, especially in the field of gymnastics. One poignant moment was when US gymnastics star Simone Biles won bronze in the women's balance beam final and then warmly embraced Chinese gymnast Guan Chenchen who clinched gold in the event. For Guan, who's 16, it was a moment she's not likely to forget any time soon, as she identifies Biles as her hero, reported CNN. Chinese gymnast Tang Xijing had clinched silver in the event.
Guan Chenchen and Suni Lee together! Look how far they’ve come 🥺 pic.twitter.com/4l4louSisd— Ava ☮︎ (@avclre) August 4, 2021
It was the first time Guan Chenchen and Tang Xijing had won medals. Once the results were announced, Biles hugged Guan. Her US teammate and all-around Olympic champion Sunisa Lee also vocally cheered Guan during her routine. She also hugged Guan once the results were announced. Lee also retweeted a video of Guan's dismount from the beam and said she was so proud of Guan, adding "I love her (so much)."
We feel the same!😆This is what it means. ❤️ pic.twitter.com/TzElarfHBy— Chinese Olympic Committee (@OlympicsCN) August 4, 2021
The video of the celebrations between the gymnasts of China and America went viral online, especially given the backdrop of the testy relationship between the two governments. The video was also retweeted by the official Chinese Olympic Committee, along with a heart emoji and a photo. The caption read: "We feel the same! This is what it means." The shared joy wasn't just limited to the Olympic athletes though. Global Times, the nationalist Chinese tabloid, wrote about the camaraderie between Lee and Guan. "Sharp-eyed viewers noticed that every time the Chinese gymnast successfully completed a move on the beam, Lee, very noticeable in the background due to her red coat, would jump and cheer along with Guan’s teammates and coaches. Her sincere and joyous reaction touched viewers around the world," read an article published by the tabloid.
The video also warmed the hearts of people on the Chinese social media platform Weibo. Many lauded Biles and Lee for displaying what they believe is the true spirit of the Olympics. "No matter where you are from, what race you belong to, what beliefs you have, people in the international society should unite together, making human life better," wrote one Weibo user, reported Chinese state media. "I see that hope at the Olympic Games. These athletes give us a good example."
Guan Chenchen and Suni Lee, Olympic champions. THE GLOW UP. 🥺😭 pic.twitter.com/oTy6Q2uz5l— The Gymternet (@thegymterdotnet) August 3, 2021
The origin of the Coronavirus pandemic has been a bone of contention between the two countries, with conservatives in America, in particular, claiming that the virus outbreak was the result of a lab leak in Wuhan. In May earlier this year, US President Joe Biden ordered American intelligence agencies to find out how coronavirus originated, including exploring the possibility of it emerging from a lab accident, reported CNN. The general consensus of the scientific community has been that the virus jumped naturally from animals to humans. While America is exploring the possibility of a lab leak, China is doubling down on its own theory that the virus may have been leaked from a US Army lab. Chinese diplomats have been calling for a World Health Organization (WHO) investigation into the US Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases at Fort Detrick, Maryland. While both countries are busy shifting the blame of the pandemic, its athletes are giving us hope for a better world.