For Liao Qiuyun's small Chinese village, her silver had a luster just like gold’s.
According to an account from a local Chinese media in Yongzhou, Hunan, Liao’s village folks who held a live viewing celebration erupted in applause and even set off fireworks when the results of her Olympic debut performance in Tokyo was announced.
No matter that she fell short of the top prize in the 55 kilogram weightlifting women’s category after Filipina lifter Hidilyn Diaz topped the competition, her family and friends rallied behind her still.
"Come on, you are great, mother loves you!" Liao’s mother reportedly told her daughter through the TV screen after the results came out.
Liao’s 17-year-old sister was also quoted in the report praising Liao’s performance, “"My sister is really working hard and great. Although she didn't get the first place, her hard-working spirit has been deeply infecting me. I will follow her as an example."
Liao’s parents set up a live viewing event on the morning of her match, putting up a tent, chairs, and a large TV screen. According to an account on Chinese social media platform Weibo, Liao’s parents also prepared a feast by slaughtering chickens and sheep for the festive viewing celebration.
Before the tournament, it even rained at the viewing venue, but it did not push spectators to go home. In Chinese culture, rain is also considered an auspicious event as it is equated with life and harvest.
Liao has been a local celebrity in her hometown after she started weightlifting in 2007 at the age of 11. As she grew strength to strength through the years, she eventually became known as “wěn gūniáng,” or "the steady girl" due to how she steadily lifted her weights. Fourteen years after climbing the ladder from local sports events, regional meets, to national competitions, up until her Olympic debut, her village remained behind her all the way.