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525 Triumph Belongs to the Brave



It was the fifth day of the Olympic track and field competitions. The track and field events being held were the women's pole vaulting qualification round and the first round of the women's 5000 meters. The next event was the final in the men's triple jump.

The US team was favored to win the gold medal in men's triple jump and they had two athletes participating.

Europeans were also quite good at the men's triple jump. In the past three decades, Europeans had gotten excellent results in this event. However, several of Europe's traditional triple jump powers failed to perform well in this Olympics and no European teams made the final.

On the contrary, players from Mexico, Colombia, Cuba, Guyana and other countries in the Central and South America advanced. On top of that, three athletes from the Chinese team advanced to the final. The Chinese team therefore had one more athlete than the American team.

Jinrong Hu, the coach of the Chinese team in charge of the long jump, was an acquaintance of Dai Li. When Dai Li had graduated from college, he had entered into the Hanbei Province Sports Bureau and worked as a choreman in the Beikou Base. At that time, Jinrong Hu also worked at Beikou Base, so Dai Li had the chance to get acquainted with him. After Dai Li trained Haiquan Fang, Jinrong Hu personally took Haiquan Fang away from the base. When Dai Li went to the national team for further learning, he also worked with Jinrong Hu. He worked with him during the Asian Games.

Many years had passed. Jinrong Hu was still the coach of the national team that was in charge of the long jump. Although he was more experienced and qualified, he didn't officially get promoted.

However, Dai Li, who had worked in the Beikou Training Base as a choreman at that time, had become the head coach of the U.S. national team.

At this point, the game was about to start. Dai Li and Jinrong Hu stood together and they had a friendly talk.

"Coach Li, the US national team is determined to win the gold medal in the men's triple jump, right? Dorries was the defending champion of the men's triple jump, so there is no doubt that he will win this gold medal," Jinrong Hu said with a smile.

"Maybe, we still have four Chinese athletes that advanced to the final," Dai Li still used "we", which made Jinrong Hu feel comfortable with him.

Jinrong Hu was comfortable with the word Dai Li had used - "we." He felt that although Dai Li had become the coach of the US team, he was still modest and didn't regard himself as an outsider.

"Oh, it's just a fluke. You certainly knew the ability of our athletes. They lack both ability and experience. They are good in Asia, but they were not qualified to be in the Olympic final," said Jinrong Hu.

"Coach Hu, I don't believe you don't want your athletes to win the championship," Dai Li said, smiling. "The soldier who does not want to be a general is not a good soldier!"


Jinrong Hu didn't deny what Dai Li said, but he knew that it was almost impossible for them to defeat the U.S. team and win the gold medal. He changed the topic and said, "Anyway, Coach Li, it couldn't have been easy to achieve what you have these past few years, right? When did you go to the U.S.?"

Dai Li began to tell his experience, "When I left our track and field team and returned to the provincial team, I met Zhizhong Gu by chance. At that time, Zhizhong Gu was the coach of the national table tennis team, so he recruited me to be the physical coach for the team. You must have heard about what happened to the national table tennis team later."

"Zhizhong Gu was demoted, and you were also affected, right?" Jinrong Hu had been on the national team for several years, so he had a clear idea of the regulations of the national team. Therefore, Jinrong Hu could guess what would happen to Dai Li after Zhizhong Gu was demoted.

"I was transferred to some committee for applying for the intangible cultural heritage status for a sort of free-hand boxing. I can't even remember the official name for free-hand boxing now! I was promoted in terms of ranking, but the new job was actually a position with little work. I am a coach and I don't know anything about an intangible cultural heritage application. So I quit," Dai Li said.

"So you went to the U.S.?" asked Jinrong Hu.

"I didn't have enough money to go to the U.S. at that time! So I went to the Dingtian Football Club and followed Harman for a year as a fitness coach," said Dai Li.

"Dingtian offered a good salary, right? I heard that Dingtian group was very rich; they spent a lot money on football," Jinrong Hu said.

"Dingtian indeed offers a pretty good salary. I wouldn't have had enough money to open a training center in the U.S. without them," Dai Li said. "I worked at Dingtian Club for a year, during which I saved some money. Then I went to the U.S., rented a place, and opened a physical training center. In the beginning, nobody came to my training center. To save on the rent, I had to train some disabled athletes for free. I was lucky enough to meet Philips, namely, the blade runner."

Dai Li gave a brief summary of what happened after that. He mentioned helping Taylor comeback, helping Holly overcome a tragedy, and helping Alexander, Ford, and Aylwin with their training. By the time the performance-enhancing drugs scandal broke, the U.S. team had no available coaches, so Dai Li was appointed head coach of the U.S. National Track and Field Team in a time of crisis.

Dai Li go to in depth into his story; he skipped over many details. For Jinrong Hu, Dai Li's experience over the years was full of ups and downs.

"Oh my god, it sounds like a Hollywood blockbuster to me! Your experience is enough for you to make a two-part autobiography now!" Hu sighed.

When Dai Li and Jinrong Hu were talking to each other, a young Chinese woman came over with a press card hanging around her neck. There was a national flag design on her press card, to make it obvious that she was a reporter from China.

"Coach Hu!" The female reporter greeted Jinrong Hu in a sweet voice, but his eyes were fixed on Dai Li.

"It's Miss Liu!" It was apparent that Coach Hu knew the female reporter.

"Is this Coach Li?" Obviously, Dai Li was the real target of the reporter.

Jinrong Hu knew that she had just came over to talk to Dai Li, so he did Dai Li a favor and introduced them. "Coach Li, let me introduce Miss Ran Liu, a reporter sent by CCTV to cover the Olympics."

"Hello, Miss Liu," Dai Li nodded politely.

"Coach Li, I have heard so much about you. I feel so lucky to finally be able to meet you." The female reporter shook hands with Dai Li, who was smiling warmly.

The three were chatting casually when Ran Liu asked, "Coach Li, do you have time for an interview?"

"Well I don't want this to have been a complete waste of time for you." Dai Li thought for a while, then he smiled and nodded. "No problem, but I'm busy with my work at the moment. You can tell my assistant that I have agreed to an interview, he will arrange a time for you."

...

The final of the men's triple jump finally began. One of the two athletes on the U.S. team was Dorries, the champion in the last Olympics. Their goal was to win the gold medal again.

With the aid of the state scale, Dorries had an excellent performance in the third trial jump. His final score was 17.96 meters. Athletes from other countries lost almost all of their motivation.

The world record for the men's triple jump was 18.29 meters and the Olympic record was 18.09 meters. At present, it was almost impossible for athletes to challenge the two records. Dorries' score could rank in the top 10 showings ever, and 17.96 meters was enough to determine the outcome of the competition ahead of time.

Another American athlete also performed well in the fifth trial jump. His final score was 17.75 meters. He was ranked second, securing for him the silver medal. The Chinese athletes were respectively the third and the fourth, winning a bronze medal for the Chinese team.

The two events that followed were the men's 1,500m preliminary round and the first round of women's 100m hurdles. The two American athletes both did well in the men's 1,500m preliminary, so they each made it to the final. The U.S. was traditionally good at the women's 100m hurdles, so the first round was stress-free for them.

These events were followed by the women's discus final. Dai Li did not pay attention to it, because no one on the US team could make it to the final.

The men's 200m race was held at the same time. All three of the American athletes made it to the final, and Macnee, Jamaica's No.1 sprinter, made his second appearance.

The morning races were over and the next races would not be held until the evening.

...

Neither the U.S. men's basketball team nor the U.S. National Track and Field Team stayed in the Olympic village.

The village was too simple and crude for American athletes. What's more, the U.S. Track and Field Association could raise hundreds of millions of dollars from several major sponsors a year, so it was not too crazy for them to book a hotel.

Franz Muller's race was over but, instead of going out to enjoy Rio's nightlife, he stayed in the hotel.

Of course, it was not because Muller wasn't interested in going out, all the young people were, but Muller had no money.

He was still a college student and, although the full scholarship guaranteed him a comfortable life, it wasn't be enough for him to constantly spend money.

Rio de Janeiro was not a cheap city. It was more expensive than Las Vegas. In Rio de Janeiro, as long as you had enough money, you could enjoy everything you could enjoy in Las Vegas. In addition, you could also enjoy what you couldn't enjoy in Las Vegas.

Everything was also more expensive during the Olympics. What's more, Muller was an American. In the eyes of Brazilians, Americans are wealthy, so they took advantage of this Olympics to make money from Americans. Therefore, Muller's scholarship was unlikely to support him to indulge in extravagant pleasure-seeking entertainment.

Sure, he could get his way even with no money. Muller was quite handsome. With his good-looking face and perfect figure, which is typical for Germans, he could easily get the attention of many enthusiastic Brazilian girls. Even if he didn't want to go out, he could wander around the Olympic village. What's more, he was now an Olympic champion. There were probably a bunch of female athletes who wanted to make out with him.

Muller was handsome enough that he could afford to be picky about the people he slept with. Handsome guys seemed to always be the pickiest.

Sitting alone in the hotel room after lunch, Muller hung out and appreciated his gold medal.

Suddenly, the doorbell rang and Muller dropped his gold medal. Through the peephole, he saw his teammate, Wyon Leonard.

Wyon Leonard was a high jumper. His event, the men's high jump final, was the first of the evening.

The high jump and the pole vault were two different events. Leonard was far more famous and qualified than Muller. At the Olympics four years ago, Leonard and two other competitors won the Olympic bronze medal at the same time.

In track and field events it is possible for multiple athletes to win the silver medal or bronze medal at the same time. Especially in the high jump, where it was usually impossible for all athletes to clear the bar when it is raised passed a certain height. Therefore, there are always multiple athletes that win the silver medal and the bronze medal in the high jump.

Muller immediately opened the door, invited Leonard to come in, and said, "Wyon, your high jump final will be held is tonight, why aren't you getting ready?"

"I needed to ask you some questions." Leonard walked into Muller's room, sat down on the sofa, and then said, "I want to know how you defeated Pat Riley and Kurayev yesterday. What's your trick?"

"Trick?" Muller frowned and didn't know how to answer.

"Or how did you do that well? As far as I know, you've never jumped over 6.13m, even in practice, but you did it yesterday. If you have any trick, I would like to know it," Leonard said earnestly. "I really want to win tonight but I have a lot of tough competition."

Although Leonard was the second runner-up in the last Olympics, he was not the strongest physically. The Russian Geedako, who won the men's jump high at the last Olympics, also won the gold medal at the World Championship two years ago. He was regarded as the king of men's high jump the past four years.

Another Ukrainian athlete Doogallov, known as the "prince of jump high", did not participate in the Olympics four years ago and the World Championship two years ago due to an injury. He came back to participate in this Olympics and he was definitely in a position to challenge Geedako.

Leonard was not as skilled as Geedako and Doogallov, but he wasn't to far behind them. In addition, Franz Muller, who took part in an international competition for the first time, had won the championship of men's pole vault while up against people more skilled than him. Leonard saw the hope for himself.

For Leonard, it was unbelievable that Muller had won a gold medal in his first Olympics. Leonard felt that he was an experienced veteran, and he had won the bronze medal at the Olympics before. He felt that if Muller could win a gold medal, so could he.

That is why Leonard had come to Muller's room; he hoped to learn something useful from Muller.

Muller hesitated before saying, "Actually, I don't have any trick. I was just thinking that I had to clear the bar and then I did it. You know that it is very hard to control your performance on the field."

Leonard looked disappointed because he didn't get the answer he wanted.

"In fact, I think you should go to someone else instead of me. There might be only one person who can help you," Muller added.

"Who?" Leonard asked eagerly.

"Coach Li!" Muller answered confidently. "Coach Li can create miracles and only he can help you with this problem."

...

Leonard followed Muller's advice and went to Dai Li for advice.

When Leonard explained what he had come for, Dai Li found it both funny and annoying.

"Wyon, your event is tonight. Don't you think it's too late? I am not in a position to create an Olympic champion in an afternoon," Dai Li laughed.

Leonard felt a little bit embarrassed, so he bowed his head subconsciously.

"Well, I'm not kidding." Dai Li leaned back calmly on the sofa. "I can't help you physically improve in an afternoon. However, you don't need to. Let's talk about something else."

Leonard immediately became serious and ready to listen. Dai Li picked up his teacup, took a sip of tea to moisten his throat, and asked, "Did you watch the pole vault final yesterday?"

"Yes, I did, Muller performed brilliantly." Leonard nodded.

"Before the race, did you think that it was possible Muller could win?" Dai Li asked.

"Of course not," Leonard said as he shook his head without hesitation. "I thought either Pat Riley or Kurayev would win."

"Then who do you think is stronger, Kurayev or Muller?" Dai Li continued to ask.

Leonard thought for a moment and then replied, "Before yesterday, I would have said Kurayev is stronger than Muller. But now, I think Muller and Kurayev are on the same level. Muller is younger, so I think Muller will surpass Kurayev. It's just a matter of time."

"Then do you know why Kurayev lost?" Dai Li asked.

After thinking for a while, Leonard answered, "In my opinion, Kurayev didn't perform as well as Muller. If he had performed better, he would have been able to clear 6.13 meters."

"No. Actually, after two failed attempts at 6.13 meters, Kurayev didn't choose to go directly to the 6.18 meter jump. That was when he lost," Dai Li said.

"6.18 meters was higher than the world record for men's pole vault, right? Kurayev was unlikely to clear it," said Leonard.

"Kurayev must had the same idea. It's true that 6.18 meters would've been tough to reach, but if you don't believe in yourself and you don't have the courage to try, then you are doomed to fail." Dai Li picked up his teacup, took a sip of tea and continued.

"His tactical intention was simple. He wanted to clear 6.13 meters. Both he and Muller would fail to make the attempt at the height of 6.18 meters. So next, the height would be lowered, and he would have an edge over Muller. That is to say, he gave himself leeway.

"Muller, after two failed attempts at 6.08 meters, chose to pass. He used his last chance to challenge 6.13 meters, which he had never tried in practice sessions. He made a choice to be brave. That's the difference between the two of them.

"Let me tell you a story. It happened in China. There was a famous battle. The first emperor of our country built a great dynasty and, after his death, many people stood up to his dynasty. A general who guided the army composed of 50,000 farmers defeated a regular army of 400,000 soldiers. Guess how he did it?"

Leonard thought for a moment and said, "He must have used some tricks, right? I know that the ancient Chinese generals liked to use fire and water in battles. That general might have burned his opponents with fire or used water to drown them."

"You know a lot about ancient Chinese tactics but, unfortunately, you guessed wrong." Dai Li shook his head.

"They must've be in a strong castle, like the medieval castles in Europe. A castle with a few dozen people in it can withstand the attack of a thousand. I think if the general had a big castle, he would win," Leonard said.

"Wrong again," Dai Li shook his head, and then he told Leonard the answer. "The general didn't choose to defend, but to attack with his army. He led his irregular troops and crossed the river and they sank all their boats to the bottom of the river. The general told his troops that they had no way to retreat, so they had to move forward. In addition, he broke all their pots. Then, he told his troops that if they could not defeat the enemy, they would have nothing to eat and all of them would starve to death. The general wanted his 50,000 soldiers to know that if they wanted to survive, they must move forward and attack the enemy. Only by defeating 400,000 could they eat again.

"Then, just as the general expected, his troops kept attacked their enemies until they finally defeated every last one. When an army is confronted with a desperate situation, they can unleash tremendous power, even though if they are just farmers."

Dai Li took a deep breath and continued. "I'm telling you this tso that you know to never cower, even if your opponent seems more powerful. You have to constantly remind yourself that you are in a desperate situation, you have no way to retreat, you can only go forward and keep fighting! You have to remember that triumph belongs to the brave."