The Other Side of the Athlete: Pang Panpan, Deng Linlin, and Yang Yilin

2006 World Champion, Pang Panpan, sat on the sidelines helping her athletes prepare for the competition. As the coach for team Hebei her responsibilities include doing athlete makeup, gelling hair, and shouting encouragements from the sidelines. 

Pang loved the sport so much that she wanted to contribute in other meaningful ways upon her retirement as an athlete. “First I am really thankful for gymnastics because it gave me everything I have including my world champion title, my college education, and my current job, therefore I want to do my part and give back to gymnastics. I chose to focus my path on gymnastics, I want to put all of my experience into helping future generations become World and Olympic champions, to me it’s very meaningful,” Pang said.

On the other side of the competition floor, Olympic Champions Deng Linlin and Yang Yilin could be seen preparing to judge the meet. Yang, a relatively new judge talked about the challenges her new role gave her: “I am a really new judge, I think every time I judge I always make improvements. The judges with more experience and more independence help us study and improve. Only by working together with them can our judging abilities become better and better.”

Deng piped in after “also you should continuously be communicating with each other. Every person’s understanding of the rules can be different. Therefore it’s important for us to learn from our judging seniors,” said Deng.

Now Deng Linlin is a graduate student at Beijing Sports University. Yang Yilin, who studied at the same university, recently got married and had a child. Yang Yilin currently coaches cheerleading and gymnastics at Sun Yat-Sen University in Guangzhou. Although they both have their own established careers now, they both returned to the competition arena for similar reasons:

“One reason is because of my love for the sport, the other reason is as a professional athlete I’ve already stood on top of the Olympic podium; I can be recognized. I hope that in judging circles I can also be recognized, I hope as a judge I can always strive to be better, and collectively as judges, coaches, and athletes we can collaborate to be better,” Yang said.

Deng had similar reasons for why she returned in her new role: “First is because of love, the other is because of my hope that these young women can show off the best version of themselves. I myself hope to exhibit some accomplishments in this field of work. To become an excellent athlete, if you show your understanding of gymnastics then you will become even better.” 

Source: CCTV

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