Despite Tough Competition, Teen Gymnast Earns Silver

Artistic gymnast Li Xiang on the pommel horse.

Artistic gymnast Li Xiang of China has been competing at Special Olympics World Games since he was 11 years old. He was a standout at the 2015 Special Olympics World Games in Los Angeles, USA; then two years later, he mastered a new sport—speedskating—to get a chance at the 2017 World Winter Games in Austria, where he was once again among the youngest competitors. Then again, at 15, Li achieved multiple medals at the the 2019 World Games in Abu Dhabi.

“Look ahead and move forward! Don’t give up no matter how hard the difficulties are.”

Li Xiang

So Li prepared for the 2023 World Games in Berlin as a seasoned veteran of global competition. But this time, at age 19, he faced especially stiff competition from other gymnasts from all around the world. He competed in several events—including the parallel bars, floor exercises and rings. Then came the pommel horse, a difficult event—but that’s where he earned a silver medal!

Overall, Li Xiang says he’s satisfied with his performance at the Games. But he still realizes he has some work to do to learn a “perfect” handstand; so he will continue to train and become ever better.

He has a message for his supporters, who have been cheering him on throughout his training and competition. He says he remains determined to “be stronger and use my strength to prove myself.”

Li adds that the competition overall was fantastic—and it brought him “happiness, courage, confidence and faith” in all abilities.

Lastly, he said he has some advice for other athletes who are just starting out: “Look ahead and move forward! Don’t give up no matter how hard the difficulties are. Try your best to achieve a better performance!”

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