China at the Summer Olympics
China's athletes have accomplished great things since they started competing in significant numbers at the 1984 Olympics. At just a handful of Summer Games through 2012, the country's Olympians have tallied 473 medals-including a very impressive 201 golds.
China's women have easily earned their share of those podium finishes. The following list includes brief information on the ten women that I regard as China's best in the Olympics:
Chen Ruolin: The 19-year-old Chen has dominated the 10-meter diving events at the last two Olympics. She has won four golds, and with all of her victories by sizable margins.
Deng Yaping: One of the all-time greats in table tennis with an enviable record at the Olympics and World Championships, the diminutive Deng was victorious in all four women's singles and doubles competitions at the 1992 and 1996 Olympics.
Fu Mingxia: A child prodigy in diving in the early 1990s, Fu was equally adept at the 3-meter springboard and the 10-meter platform. She won four individual golds in those events, as well as a silver in the synchronized springboard the first time it was contested at the Olympics in 2000.
Guo Jingjing: A winner of six Olympic diving medals at the three Games between 2000-2008, Guo was perfect at the latter two with consecutive golds in the 3-meter springboard and the synchronized springboard events.
He Kexin: A controversial figure in women's gymnastics at the 2008 Olympics due to questions about her age, He was unquestionably one of the best gymnasts there with a pair of golds, including an individual one in the uneven bars. She also got a silver for her efforts on the uneven bars this year at the London Games.
Li Xiaoxia: Li emerged from a strong field of contenders to earn a spot on China's table tennis team at the London Games. She did not disappoint in singles competition by winning gold, as well as contributing to the team title for the Chinese women.
Wang Nan: Wang is another of China's great champions in table tennis since it became an Olympic sport in 1988. She has five medals to her credit-including four golds-with her lone singles title achieved in 2000.
Wu Minxia: Wu ranks near the top of China's women's divers over the past few decades, perhaps only surpassed in career accomplishments by Fu Mingxia and the incomparable Guo Jingjing. Wu has won a half dozen Olympic medals in springboard events-including four golds. She teamed with Guo for synchronized springboard titles in 2004 and 2008.
Zhang Yining: Xhang was a table tennis standout at Olympics in 2004 and 2008. She won four golds, with titles in the singles event at both Games.
Ye Shiwen: Ye swam her way to two convincing victories in the 200 and 400-meter individual medleys at the London Games-the former in a new Olympic record time, and the latter establishing a new world record.
Although some questioned Ye's times and insinuated the use of performance-enhancing drugs, my belief is that she deserves nothing but credit for her tremendous swimming-without any proof of drug use.
Related content: Summer Olympics History: China's Greatest Olympians
Patrick Hattman covered the London Games for the Yahoo! Contributor Network. He is already looking forward to the 2014 Winter Games in Sochi, Russia.