Yao Ming - International Career - 2008 Olympics

2008 Olympics

After having surgery to repair his fractured foot, Yao stated if he could not play in the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing, "It would be the biggest loss in my career to right now". He returned to play with the Chinese national team on July 17, 2008. On August 6, Yao carried the Olympic Flame into Tiananmen Square, as part of the Olympic torch relay. He also carried the Chinese flag and led his country's delegation during the opening ceremony. Yao scored the first basket of the game, a three-pointer, in China's opening game against the eventual gold medal-winning United States.

"I was just really happy to make that shot," Yao said after the Americans’ 101–70 victory. "It was the first score in our Olympic campaign here at home and I’ll always remember it. It represents that we can keep our heads up in the face of really tough odds."

Following an overtime defeat to Spain, Yao scored 30 points in a win over Angola, and 25 points in a three-point win against Germany, which clinched China's place in the quarterfinals. However, China lost to Lithuania in the quarterfinals by 26 points, eliminating them from the tournament. Yao's 19 points a game were the second-highest in the Olympics, and his averages of 8.2 rebounds and 1.5 blocks per game were third overall.

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