Turning the World Upside Down

Last week, a rather small weight lifter named Shi Zhiyong ambled onto a stage in Athens and heaved an Olympic record 152.5 kg before catapulting himself into an ecstatic backflip when he realized he had struck gold in the 62-kg competition. The 1.6-m Chinese athlete, who wistfully lists his hobby in the Chinese sports-delegation handbook as "food"—he had to shed 4 kg in four days to make the qualifying weight in Athens—later apologized for what he modestly considers his underwhelming physique. "I think my muscles are kind of small," says Shi, his compact body rippling with the kind of brawn a...

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