China's top diplomat told the country's Olympic athletes to behave in a "modest and unassuming" way in London, state media reported on Friday, as the country tries to manage expectations for a team which topped the medals table in Beijing in 2008.
By the time the Beijing Games closed on Aug. 24 2008, China had earned 51 golds, leapfrogging the United States' 36 golds and topping the medals table for the first time.
With all eyes on whether China will be able to repeat that feat in London, State Councillor Dai Bingguo, China's top diplomat and the government's representative to the opening ceremony, sought to temper emotions.
"We are still a developing country and should keep a modest and prudent attitude even though China is becoming more and more globally influential,” the official Xinhua news agency cited Dai as telling the Chinese team in London.
"We are considered a big sporting country but we are still not a sporting giant. There are still gaps between China and global sports giants in many aspects. We must be modest and unassuming in learning from other countries and continue to raise our athletic abilities," he said.
Cav hails 'dream team'
Tour de France sprint king Mark Cavendish believes a 'dream' British cycling team can notch what could be the hosts' first gold medal of the Games at the Olympic men's road race on Saturday.
Only six days after Cavendish played a role in Bradley Wiggins' historic yellow jersey triumph, the race's 23-times stage winner starts as the favourite for the 250 km men's road race on the opening day of competition.
A host of challengers like Germany's Andre Greipel and Slovakian Peter Sagan stand in his way, but Cavendish believes Britain's five-man team have the edge.
"It's the dream team," said the 27-year-old from the Isle of Man. "If we wanted to win this bike race we couldn't be in a better situation team-wise."
Britain will line up with a five-man team notably including Wiggins and Scot David Millar armed with a plan to deliver Cavendish to the home straight in the perfect position for a bunch sprint. If the plan comes together, the 'Manx Missile' -- going on his recent form -- will be hard to beat.
Crowned the world champion in 2011, Cavendish put some doubts over his form early in the Tour de France to bed with two, stunning late wins in the race. "We've got the fastest man in the world and I guess it's for other people to combat that," said Wiggins.