There seems to be no place for a silver medal in China’s Olympic mindset – a reality players have to deal with, Wall Street Journal reports.

When the Chinese delegation predicted a bleak outlook for the London Games, nobody in the team expected to owe up, they had years of intense training, focussed on one thing: winning. True enough, China was leading the Olympics – 34 gold, 21 silver and 18 bronze. But when a player stumbles, his countrymen don’t bother to hide their disappointment.

Chinese favorite Liu Xiang, 29, hit the first hurdle in the 110m hurdles, marking his exit from the Games. An announcer from Chinese media claimed: “Liu is not as perfect as he used to be”. Chinese nationals took to Weibo to voice out there anger with one user saying, “Liu Xiang, you are such a disappointment” and questioning the country’s support for him.

The local Xinhua News Agency came to Liu’s defense, calling him “Brave Liu”, a reminder of his gold-medal performance in the 2004 Games. Last week, 23-year old weightlifter Wu Jingbiao apologized saying he was “terribly sorry” when he won silver instead of gold. China also fiercely defended Ye Shiwen after her gold and record breaking performance was questioned.

State-run China Youth Daily newspaper accused leaders of putting too much pressure on players “in pursuit of global recognition”. Beijing Daily defended the local sports system, saying that it is based on China’s “culture and traditions”.