A Chinese Olympic gold medalist has alleged that she was presented a fake 200 grams gold can by the country’s top beverage maker 19 years ago.
The athlete, Zhuang Xiaoyan, kept a gold beverage can as one of her most treasured possessions for 19 years before being told that her prize for winning the Olympics in 1992 was “fake gold”. Each of China’s 18 Olympic champions in the Barcelona Games were awarded a “gold can” by one of the country’s biggest soft drink companies, Jianlibao Group, which had said the can was made of “pure gold” and weighed 200 grams.
“I had always thought the gold can was the best proof of my professional career. It had given me a lot of confidence for my life during the past 19 years,” Zhuang said.
Zhuang, who won the women’s 72 kg category judo in Barcelona, said that she had stored the “gold can” in a bank for three years, which cost her over 1,000 yuan every year ($159 approx).
The 42-year-old, who retired in 1995, found that the can was fake gold two months ago when her twin daughters, now 16, raised suspicion that it was not like “pure gold” because some parts of the can were broken.
Zhuang then had the can tested only to be told that the can was fake gold and worth less than 100 yuan ($ 15.9). An angry Zhuang contacted the company immediately but Jianlibao Group only told her that she can solve the problem through “legal procedures”.
“I am very sad and angry,” said Zhuang, who also works as a teacher. “It’s not the problem about gold and money. It has witnessed my career and gave me a lot of beautiful memories for 19 years.”