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Olympics: Soul-searching China focus on 'Olympic spirit'

Published on Aug 13, 2012 8:03 AM

LONDON (AFP) - China played down the frantic drive for gold medals and focused on "Olympic spirit" and sportsmanship at a London Games marked by an unusual bout of soul-searching.

Four years after cleaning up with 51 golds in Beijing, China's tally dropped to 38, surprisingly leaving them second behind the United States on the medals table.

But chef de mission Liu Peng called the results "satisfactory" - and praised China's non medal-winning athletes for showing the Olympic values of fair play and sporting behaviour.

"This is as glorious as winning a gold medal," he said.

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