A Chinese daily Thursday said that winning is not everything and Olympic medals do not determine honour or dishonour after a weightlifter came in for criticism for failing in her three attempts.
"To win, or not to win, that should never be the question at the Olympic Games. Honour and dishonour medals do not determine, for that is not the spirit of sports," said an editorial in the China Daily.
China leads the medals tally in the London Olympics by having, till now, won 17 gold, nine silver and four bronze medals.
The Chinese daily said though Pierre de Coubertin, the founder of modern Olympics, made "Faster, Higher, Stronger" the motto of the Games, "but lest we forget, his other motto is: `The most important thing is not to win but to take part'."
Chinese female weightlifter Zhou Jun failed to hoist 95 kg in three snatch attempts in the 53 kg category at the London Games Sunday, drawing media criticism.
"And though a paper based in Yunnan province published an apology on its front page for calling Zhou's loss a dishonor, the incident shows how wrong some Chinese are about the spirit of the Games," said the daily.
This wrong notion afflicts athletes too.
"Another Chinese weightlifter, Wu Jingbiao, broke down after failing to win gold and told a reporter that he apologizes to the motherland, the weightlifting team and everyone who backed him to win," it said.
The daily added: "This shows that even some athletes, especially gold medal hopefuls, are obsessed with winning, and are under heavy pressure from their teams, coaches and spectators."
It went on to say that people should feel happy and excited when Chinese athletes win medals, particularly gold medals.
"But there is no reason for us to look down upon the failures. Every athlete, Chinese or foreign, who has given his or her best deserves respect."
The daily said that athletes who overcome odds and physical injuries to complete their events even in the last place deserve as much honour and respect as the gold medal winners.
"One cannot learn anything from the Olympic Games unless one learns to appreciate success and failure both," it added.