Chinese gymnast Li Ning was a multiple medalist in the 1984 Olympic Games, and his overall haul of three golds, two silvers and one bronze was symbolic of China’s arrival at the Olympic stage that year. Li won the gold in the pommel horse, floor exercises and rings, the silver in the vault and team competition, and the bronze in the individual all-around. He came up empty-handed, though, in Seoul four years later as he competed despite nursing a few injuries. He retired shortly afterwards.
He truly became a household name in his home country after retiring, when he founded Li-Ning Company Limited, a footwear and sports apparel company that is well-known for its quality badminton products, among other things, and whose basketball apparel are endorsed by several NBA players and worn by the national teams of Spain. Fittingly, Li Ning was chosen to light the Olympic flame at the opening ceremonies of the 2008 Beijing Olympics, and did so in spectacular fashion, being lifted from the ground by cables and appearing to run around the elevated part of the stadium.
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