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Argentina: China-Born Olympic Athlete in the Spotlight

This post is part of our special coverage London 2012 Olympics.

In a weekend marked by sports, with many disciplines where Argentinian athletes and teams participated in the London 2012 Olympics, Argentinian fans divided their time between basketball, women's hockey, the Olympic rings, and tennis.

But what caught the most attention among Argentinian netizens was ping pong, also known as table tennis. Not because it is a popular sport in the country, but because of the man who represented Argentina in this discipline. Liu Song, born in China but with Argentinian nationality, has captured the undivided attention of Argentinian netizens after bringing the first victory for Argentina in London 2012.

Who is Liu Song? Fabio Baccaglioni comments [es] in his blog:

Un nombre resume todo, Liu Song. ¿por qué tomarlo como ícono olímpico? simplemente porque es uno de esos atletas por los que nadie da un mango en los medios, aquel que uno sabe va sin nada y se vuelve con todo aun habiendo perdido. No sale en fotos oficiales, nadie apuesta por él, sin embargo logró que todo el mundo lo mencione y mire sus partidos de Ping Pong, suframos con su caída, lo felicitemos cuando le hacen una nota y nos llenemos de lágrimas al verlo triste pero con la frente alta.

One name sums it up, Liu Song. Why take him as an Olympic icon? simply because he is one of those athletes that nobody in the media pays attention to, who you know will go with nothing and yet he will come back with everything, even though he has lost. He does not appear in official photos, no one is bidding on him, but he has managed to make everyone mention him and watch his games of Ping Pong, suffer with his fall, congratulate him when he gets some air time and we are filled with tears when we see him sad but with his head held high.

Fabio continues:

Liu Song – photo: Comisión Nacional de Cultura Física y Deporte under license (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

Siendo un chino nacionalizado argentino, con apenas un español rudimentario, igual nos representó e hizo lo suyo más que bien.
[...]

Por eso creo que él representa a todas esas otras disciplinas que no “venden” que no suben el rating si no que pasan desapercibidas durante cuatro años y nadie les da la más mínima atención, para ellos, el mejor de los deseos, y ojo, a no confundir, que no significa que uno no apoye a las disciplinas “famosas” si no que lo que quiero es que sean todas importantes, aun cuando la única chance sea de tan sólo pasar una ronda.

As a Chinese, citizen of Argentina, with only rudimentary Spanish, he has represented us and did his part very well.

[...]

So I think he represents all those other disciplines that do not “sell”, that do not raise ratings but rather go unnoticed for four years and no one gives them the slightest attention, for them, I wish the best, and don't be confused, that does not mean I don't support the “famous” disciplines, I want all of them to be important, even if the only chance they get is to pass to the next round.

Song, who already represented Argentina in 2000, 2004 and 2008 for the Olympics, won over Argentinian Twitter users, and the hashtag #Songuito [es] became a local Trending Topic over the past weekend. Among the most relevant tweets there are those that “sing” to cheer for Song, like Alejandro Guevara (@AleMGuevara) [es] and Pibe Cristino (@pibecristino) [es]:

@pibecristino: ♬ #songuito, mi buen amigo, esta olimpiada volveremo a esta contigo, te enseñaremooooo’ el españooool ♬

@pibecristino [es]: ♬ #songuito, my good friend, these Olympics we will be with you again, and we will teach you Spanish ♬

Others are already thinking about Song's participation in the Brazil 2016 Olympics. Javier Navia (@javiernavia) [es] suggests that Song be the standard bearer for the Argentinian delegation:

@javiernavia#Songuito debe volver en Rio 2016 y ser el abanderado.

@javiernavia [es]: #Songuito should be in Rio 2016 holding the Argentinian flag.

Likewise, Eve (@apalappapa) [es] tweets:

@apalappapa #Songuito quiero ir a Ezeiza a recibirte!!!!! brasil 2016 te espera!!!!

@apalappapa [es]: #Songuito I want to go to the Ezeiza Airport to greet you!!!!! Brazil 2016 waits for you!!!!

Liu Song is admired by Argentinians because his triumph was the first victory for the country in London 2012. Song won during the first round against the Congolese Suraju Saka, but in the second round he was eliminated by Slovenian Bojan Tokic. Again, Twitter in Argentina exploded with reactions. Facun Díaz (@fideoFlash)  [es] says that he doesn't want to watch the Olympics Games anymore and would rather watch YouTube videos of Song; and Antonio Nicolás Peix (@ANPeix) [es] says the Games are now meaningless.

Because of the losses by Las Leonas in Women's Hockey against the United States, by Men's Basketball [es] against France, and by Los Gladiadores [es] in Men's Handball also against France, among others, Liu Song was still remembered on July 31. Walter Cuevas (@Walwaler) [es] tweets:

@Walwaler: desde que perdió #songuito están perdiendo todos los deportistas arg!

@Walwaler [es]: since  #songuito lost, all Argentinian athletes are loosing!

While JC (@JuanCruzLopez12) [es] makes a suggestion:

@JuanCruzLopez12: La única solucion que se me ocurre… Es que #Songuito sea capitan de todos los equipos.

@JuanCruzLopez12 [es]: The only solution I can think of…is that #Songuito be the captain of all teams.

Finally, in the post “Thank you #Songuito! We will never forget you…”, Alez R. from the blog Una Opinión en Blog (An Opinion in a Blog) [es] writes:

Alli termino la participacion de #Songuito como fue famoso y “TrendingTopic” en la red social Twitter, pero quedara para siempre en el sentimiento de los argentinos… “Grande ArgenChino” !

There ended the participation of  #Songuito who was famous as a “TrendingTopic” on the social network Twitter, but will remain forever in the hearts of the Argentinians … “You are great ArgenChinese”!

This post is part of our special coverage London 2012 Olympics.

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