For the first part of that sizzling Olympic dishy beef, click right here! On with the show, then. We now count down from No.4 on Vogue China’s “Ultimate Olympian” list to the very summum of athletic prowess. In that race to the top… Bagpack or sixpack?
Please note that this post is based on an article originally published in Chinese by Vogue China on August 22, 2016. English translation, interpretation and additional editing by Elsbeth van Paridon.
Neither fussed by fame and its fashionable bearings nor fond of strict dress codes and the black tie that accompanies them, Zhang Jike is more of a cute Tibetan mastiff than a ping-pong devil.
The word “athlete” is derived from Latin athleta, from Greek athlētēs, from athlein “compete for a prize”, from athlon “prize”. Obrigada, Etymology Online. Broad shoulders, muscular chests and well-defined calf muscles (Henry VIII would have loved this; endearment of the times), the combination of genetics, physical ability and talent is the stronghold of any competing specimen. In this line of thought, China’s Rio entourage brought its A-Game to the 2016 Olympics, both on and off the tracks, courts, diving boards und so weiter. A visual feast of athletic promise and physical beauty bestowed itself upon viewers worldwide; but where did they all suddenly come from? Many a Chinese participant had received an invite to the muscle-flexing party of the year this time around. From eight pack to six-pack (both are sufficiently hardcore, in my humble opinion) and from Vogue China’s No. 4 to the top of Mount Olympus… Round 2 is set to deliver!
NO.4 Zhang Jike: Team No.1 in the Table Tennis Men’s, No.2 in the Men’s Singles
This “ping-pong devil” is simultaneously known as a cutie-pie “little Tibetan mastiff”. Zhang finds himself in one crazy good all-round shape this Rio Olympics and he won’t be taking a break just yet after returning home. His frequent broadcasts and writings get fans howling and hollering all day long. At first glance Zhang actually appears to be more of a shy guy with pretty standard facial features, but he doesn’t seem to take this “prejudice” too much to heart. Neither fussed by fame and its fashionable bearings nor fond of strict dress codes and the black tie that accompanies them, the annual Sportspeople Awards is probably the best occasion to catch a glimpse of Zhang fully dressed to the nines. Correctly clothed from your proverbial tophat to wingtip (though the length of the pants is always somewhat off), donning Buddy Holly black-rimmed glasses, Zhang oozes that young proverbial “baby calf not afraid of the tiger” vibe.
The very tall Sun actually is one of those men more prone to get emotional, creating a contrasting personality which makes it difficult for people to pinpoint; a real “反差萌”, as some might say.
NO.3 Sun Yang: No. 1 in the Men’s 200 Meters Freestyle and No. 2 in the Men’s 400 Meters
Although Sun approaches the nice Northern European height of nearly two meters, he actually is one of those men more prone to get emotional, creating a contrasting personality which makes it difficult for people to pinpoint. He is at times referred to as a so-called “反差萌”. A what? For Your Anime Information, “反差萌” refers to a “person” within the ACGN – Animation, Comic, Gaming, Novel – realm, who carries within many contradicting features. From a superficial point of view, then, Sun is not “handsome” in the strictest of definitions, but there are no real flaws either. His looks make up a very comfortably and harmonically pieced together puzzle, enhanced by some very vividly engaging facial expressions. On the bodily side of things, Sun’s nickname of “the big poplar” is a pretty on-the-money description; large, white, slightly intimidating, but with a strong sense of security. The man could swoop up both fellow swimteam-mates Fu Yuanhui and Xu Jiayu with one embrace. A sight fans find endearing and impressive at the same time.
NO.3 孙杨: 男子200米自由泳冠军、400米亚军
NO.2 Lin Dan: No.4 in the Badminton Men’s Singles
If one adjective were to accurately describe Lin, it would be “lean”. Nevertheless, we should hereby dutifully note that many years of playing professional sports have given him a rather masculine yet debonair temperament, one reflected in his 10-out-of-10-well-kept facial grooming. An athlete’s physique will usually never go far off the chiseled mark, but fans cannot seem to manage summarizing Lin’sbody in one word. Many still remember a certain mega-sized black and white pic showing off Lin’s pectoral muscles to their extra-est extent, accompanied by a serious sixpack and bulging biceps; a display of mancave masculinity setting devotee pulses racing everywhere. With such inherent physical advantages, Lin’s staple “acquired taste” proves a head-turner awards after awards: A black tie and black suit are part of the standard official gear, yet Lin likes to ad a small decorum of his own choosing to the mandatory (and therefore somewhat tedious) nighttime uniform, such as a conspicuous flower tie. Additionally, Lin isn’t one to shy away from the occasional brightly spark or ruffle, turning “unruly” into “chic” – his mustache at all times serves as the cherry on Lins sundae. Moreover, Lin is crossing the sports boundaries into fashion circles, not just through his brand endorsements, but also by being personally involved in his underwear brand design. In sum, should he some day decide to retire, Lin could always sashay down the fashion runway. In more than one way.
As far as his wardrobe is concerned, Ning’s role in many an advertising campaign and magazine editorial has lifted him to master the Art Of Wardrobe.
NO.1 Undoubtedly and unsurprisingly, the winner is…”National husband” Ning Zetao
Be it the face or the body… whether you like it or not, the Chinese opinion is that Ning simply has nothing to nitpick about. Not only is he the “summit” of his Olympic team in every way imaginable, when you put him with the showbiz A-listers, he does not pale in comparison! Many say Ning shares a number of “visual” similarities with South Korean actor Kim Su Hyon, when in fact, from the facial features POV, Ning can show off some slightly better standout ones: No-plucking-needed natural brows, a good pair of sparkling eyes (yep, that’s Vogue China for ya), though the corners of Ning’s eyes are slightly more raised, with the right eye having a double-lid toward the inner corner and the left eye a double-lid toward the outer corner. As you may have taken away from the previous sentence, the shape of the eyes can often be a source of frustration/admiration in the Middle Kingdom/East Asia. And let’s not get started about the eyelids… With his much-admired high-bridged nose (yep, another one of the “seven” Chinese beauty-marks) and a winning bright boy-next-door smile, Ning knocks it out off the looks department. What can one say other than… Ning has won the genetic lottery. As far as his wardrobe is concerned, Ning’s role in many an advertising campaign and magazine editorial has lifted him to master the Art Of Wardrobe. Not only does this Olympic champion know what (not) to wear, he doesn’t even have to strike a pose to strut his stuff. An athlete of such fashionable aptitude does not often come around. By all twelve Olympian gods!
NO.1 宁泽涛: 毫无疑问，毫不意外，“国民老公”宁泽涛登顶。
When it comes to six-packs et moi, I think I’ll stick to the Corona — stuffed into my backpack. When it comes to six-packs and men, they’re like a well-crafted Old Fashioned. Always a tasty delight, never a daily necessity.
Photos: Xinhua News Agency.