Name: Dong Dong. Yes. Ha-ha, very funny.
Hometown: Henan, China
Why you should care about him: Dong Dong is actually very good at trampolining. He's one of the best in the world, in fact, and yet it is very difficult to find anything that has been written about him that doesn't boil down to, "Ha-ha! Dong Dong! This guy's name is Dong Dong!" or "This is Dong Dong and he's in the Olympics and that is all." In English, that is.
So I fired up Google Translate and dropped in some articles from Chinese news sources (they are written in characters and everything!), and I did my best to find you some real insight into who Dong Dong is as a man and a competitor. Perhaps some things get lost in translation, but the essence of the man does not.
Dong started his career as a gymnast but began training for the trampoline in 2002, and he quickly excelled. By 2005, at 16, he was a member of the Chinese national team, the world's best at trampoline. So he can jump with the best of them.
But Dong can do other things. He has been described as a "psychological warfare expert." Based on what I can gather from various rough translations, Dong has a penchant for psyching the shit out of his opponents before competitions. While everyone else is casually warming up and stretching before a meet, Dong can be found going through a rigorous, deliberate set of motions that make him resemble a murderous robot. Then, while the competition is going on, Dong refuses to watch his opponents compete or take note of their scores, choosing instead to stay sequestered in the locker room with headphones in his ears.
We imagine that, in every competition, Dong emerges from a tunnel only when it's time to compete, with a blank look on his face. He walks towards the trampoline, hops around a bit, and then crushes his opponents. Dong Dong is now our favorite Olympic athlete ever.
Dong has been nicknamed "Dong Lord" by his teammates. That's not a dick joke, though! Here, let this translation explain:
Dong Dong is not only good to play psychological warfare, very good at talking about the life and philosophy, and often full flight, it is said the team of his victims, and even psychological counseling teacher. Preparing for the Olympic Games period, the team worried that the athletes' psychological pressure is too large, specially invited psychological counseling class teacher as the Trampoline Team athletes, but did not expect the successive class on to become Dong Dong philosophy course in the psychology teacher a. To this end, the team returned to Dong Dong from the nickname - "Dong Ye."
So basically, it looks like the trampoline team invited a psychologist to talk to them and calm them down before the Olympics, but then Dong Dong was like, "Fuck that noise, I don't need your psychology because I am a heart-eating, trampolining marauder who has no fears. Now, let's talk about philosophy. I am Dong Lord." Or something like that.
Olympic/world championships experience: Dong won the bronze medal at the 2008 games in Beijing, and has won two individual world titles (2009, '10), two synchronized world titles (2010, '11), and two team world titles (2007, 2009).
Sexy-pose threat level:
Olympic archetype: Vince Hancock, Team USA's gold medalist in, yes, skeet shooting.
Scouting report from some guy on the internet: From Outside's Ryan O'Hanlon:
This is pretty much the badminton of gymnastics-type sports. China is the best, and they should win both golds and multiple medals in both the men's and women's competitions. Dong Dong and Lu Chunlong will each be disappointed not to take home gold in the men's competition for China. On the women's side, He Wanna of China is the favorite, and her fellow countrywoman Huang Shanshan should also challenge for gold. Canadians Karen Cockburn and Rosannagh MacLennan could also win gold, but they probably won't because [hockey joke].
Scouting report from home country: From HunanTV.com:
Dong Dong said that the affinity of themselves and trampoline. He is like a trampoline on the pillars of the weeping growth. Dong Dong action is characterized by stability, and elegant. Height of less than Ye Shuai, but stable in the last year a series of international competitions to play, leaving a higher impression to foreign referees.
Did you know? Haven't you gotten enough Dong Dong factoids yet?
Forecast for 2012: Dong Dong won't have any serious competition from anyone outside of China, as the country is the dominant force in Olympic trampoline. His main rival and the only one who can stop him from getting gold is countryman Lu Chunlong. The two have gone back and forth as their team's best competitors, winning golds and silvers at various international competitions. They will almost assuredly finish in the top two spots at the London games. The only question is in what order.
Relevant Bob Costas facial expression: