Inside the Olympic Training Camp of China’s World Record-Breaking Gold Medalists
The intense preparations behind the success of China’s weightlifting Olympic medal winners Lu Xiaojun, Li Xueying and Wu Jingbiao are revealed in Shanghai-based artist and photographer Noah Sheldon’s portfolio. After obtaining access to the secretive National Sports Training Center in Beijing, Sheldon followed the Chinese Olympic weightlifting team’s daily routines in the run up to the London 2012 Games, from dusting their palms with magnesium carbonate chalk to endless repetitions of the snatch and the clean-and-jerk lifts at ever-heavier weights. “The athletes’ lives are so regulated, every minute is controlled, but they really seem to have nice relationships with their coaches and each other,” notes Sheldon. The Chinese team has been hugely successful this year, with four gold and two silver medals so far. While World Champion Wu Jingbiao failed his final lift in the 56kg division to come second, late call-up to the team Wang Mingjuan took the title in the women’s 48kg competition, and Lu Xiaojun from Hubei Province broke the world records for both the snatch lift and total weight on the way to his Olympic crown. “There’s a close-up of him, when he’s hanging off the bar sideways,” says Sheldon. “It’s incredible if you see pictures of him three years ago––he was a sprinter and now he’s the world’s best lifter in his category.” But the nation’s potential medal haul isn’t over yet, as World Champion and world record holder Zhou Lulu competes today in the women’s super heavyweight over 75kg category.