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While he stood in the middle of the winners podium, Jiang realized that everybody was looking at him. He sighed emotionally. The last time he had stood on the platform more than ten years ago.
There were plenty of athletes, but only one champion. Only a few athletes had the opportunity to become champions, but the majority stayed unnoticed throughout their lives. Nobody spoke about or remembered them.
Jiang used to think that his career would end the normal way—retired and forgotten. But today, as his career was coming to an end, he was given another chance to hold the cup, receiving flowers and applause as champion.
Jiang knew that this was all because of Dai Li. Without him, he could have already received a forced retirement notice, or gotten injured while training. He turned to Li with appreciation, only to find that Li was staring at the stage with a sluggish face, as if he was daydreaming.
What is that boy thinking of?! Jiang felt confused.
Dai Li was staring at the stage in a daze. He was feeling a sense of satisfaction. He felt so proud to be a coach! He had been useless the whole competition, but when he saw Jiang standing on stage with the champion's cup in his arms, Li felt extremely joyful.
He had taken part in the entire training process, meaning he was in charge of Jiang's training. He had put a lot of effort in it. Seeing Jiang's success, Li realized that everything he had done in the last several months had all been worth it. Even though he was not the guy standing up there, he was feeling the same honor.
Such satisfaction was delightful. Li thought of himself as a gardener—he had spent months cultivating fruit trees, and now he was enjoying the fruits of his labor. How wonderful!
I've decided to be a coach. I want to be the best coach in the world! Li told himself.
"You can gain extra empirical value as well," the system's voice suddenly said in Li's mind.
"What do you mean? What extra value?" Li immediately accessed the system. He noticed that his empirical value had increased by 1,000 points.
The system explained, "When your trainee wins an award, the system will offer you extra empirical value based on the effort you've put forth. This is your reward. Depending on your trainee's award level, you will obtain different rewards. For example, Jiang just won gold in the National Weightlifting Championship, so you gain 1,000 points for that. If he had only won a silver, you would not have gotten this much empirical value."
"Does that mean that the higher the competition level is, the more I can receive? Say, the Olympics, World Championships—if my trainee wins any of the contests in those big competitions, I will be rewarded more than 1,000 points, right?" Li asked with excitement.
"Yes. The same goes for the Professional League, the Cup, etc. Those are also included," the system replied.
"Let me see when Feifei Yu has a contest. She is a world champion, and attends world-level games. Those must be of a higher level than this national competition!" Li took out his phone to call Yu for more information.
"Hey, stop dreaming. There is a minimum requirement to get extra empirical value, which is that the athlete must be on your training list. Feifei Yu has been off your list for months, she can't be the one," the system said, bursting Li's bubble.
There was a rule in the system that stated that even though Li could delete trainees by himself, once an athlete had not received Li's training for a certain period of time, that person would be automatically removed from the list. Feifei Yu had returned to the national team months ago, so she had already been deleted. Therefore, even though Yu had won another world championship, Li would not get anything from it.
In the afternoon 69kg competition, Dongshan Cao won bronze. Li was rewarded 50 points for the achievement.
"How come there are only 50 points? I got 1,000 points this morning! Is there a huge gap between first and third?" Li asked. He was pissed off.
"I told you the reason before. There is not a big gap between first and third, but the distinctions exists in the effort you put forth during training. The harder you work, the more you gain, and vice versa," the system explained.
Li now understood what the system was saying. During previous training, Li had not only helped Jiang lose weight, but had arranged some other facilitative training as well. He contributed a lot towards today's success. He deserved the 1,000 points that had been rewarded to him.
As for Dongshan Cao, Li had only given him a massage each day, so the 50 points reflected his contribution to Cao's success.
The news that Jiang had won the championship had spread throughout the whole team. Everyone was astonished.
"Really? I would have believed Cao had won gold before I believed Jiang would reach the top!"
"It should be true. Liu send the pictures, let me take a look! Hey, the one in the middle of platform really is Jiang!"
"Didn't he cut down to 62kg? How could he have won the championship?"
"He is 32 years old now, and still received a gold medal. If I were him, I wonder whether I would be allowed to participate in any contest?"
"That's amazing! It has been ten years since he got his last gold medal, right?"
"Fabulous! I wonder how he made it?"
Of course some people were jealous of the winner, so they began to try and discredit Jiang for his achievement.
"I say that Jiang won the game by chance. You know that low weight class weightlifting is not our northern lifters' dominant event. Southern lifters are better in this. This time the southwestern lifters didn't come, so the game was not as competitive as the previous ones. That's how Jiang won so easily."
But soon the others argued back with evidence.
"Here is data about Jiang's performance. His snatch was 141kg, his clean+jerk was 175kg, making his total 316kg. This should be the best performance in the country without a doubt. I remember in the last Olympics the champion's total weight was 319kg. Jiang's performance was good enough to earn a medal in the Olympics!"
People were busy discussing when Coach Song walked in.
"Everybody stop your work and go clean the training room. Later I will ask a cleaner to do a thorough cleanup! Xiang Huang, get some air fresheners," Coach Song instructed.
"Coach, are there any leaders coming to instruct us?" asked Huang.
"Did you all hear the news that Jiang won the championship? This time Qingcheng City is the host of the whole competition. Because a local athlete won, the superiors are satisfied. They will come here tomorrow for further instruction, and reporters will follow." Song paused, then continued, "Remember to be energetic tomorrow! The people with long hair—you, you, and you—get a haircut today! And your beards, shave them! Don't look like beggars! You must look your best for the leaders!"
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