Monday, July 14, 2008

Michael Chang Recalls Tiananmen At His HOF Induction

The tennis star Michael Chang won his first and only Grand Slam, the French Open, on June 12, 1989, merely a week after the Tiananmen Massacre. After his miraculous victory, the 17 years old said, "God bless everybody, especially the people in China."

Michael Chang was inducted into the tennis Hall of Fame this past weekend. Once again he remembered that dramatic time:
Michael Chang finds it appropriate he's receiving his sport's highest honor as China awaits the Olympics.

Chang was inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame on Saturday and reflected on his experiences as a Chinese-American athlete. He won the 1989 French Open at age 17 -- the youngest man to win a major -- as the Tiananmen Square protests in Beijing were escalating into bloodshed.

"For me, at the French Open, if I wasn't playing my match I was glued to CNN watching the events unfold," Chang said during a news conference before his induction. "The crackdown actually happened that Sunday of the French Open."

He also said that, "For me, I think the Lord wanted me to win to put a smile on Chinese people's faces." Michael Chang is excited about the Beijing Olympics too, for which he had served as an ambassador during the bidding process.

He had also lobbied, unsuccessfully, to become the head coach of the Chinese women tennis team.

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