During that meet Wang's time in the 10,000-meter final was almost 10 seconds slower than her world best in the prelims. But it hardly mattered. "Win your own medal, without Ma!" a male fan yelled as Wang went into her kick. The Olympics beckoned, the old Svengali was in the hospital, and she was making it on her own. If Nanjing had been Minneapolis, Wang would have been Mary Richards.
So much for Confucius and the principles of obedience. "Confucius was a great philosopher," says Liu, Chinese swimming's fly girl. "But times have changed, and our society has progressed. What men can do, women should also be able to do."
Beware the day when, in sports, China's men will be able to do what its women already can.