The International Olympic Committee (IOC) on Tuesday released a post entitled "Tang Xuemei: The will to live and to be better" to illustrate the Paralympian's life story after losing her left calf during a severe earthquake 13 years ago.
Over 87,000 people lost their lives in the Wenchuan earthquake in China's Sichuan Province in 2008.
After being buried for over 28 hours in her school's dormitory while waiting to be rescued, the then-14-year-old girl had to have her left leg amputated at the calf.
"My mum and dad begged the doctors not to amputate my leg because they didn't know exactly what my future path would be like, but I knew that I longed to live." Tang decided to agree to the amputation despite knowing there would be challenges ahead.
The post wrote that Tang initially became quiet and withdrawn with her impairment, but her life was transformed by sitting volleyball, which she participated in for the first time at an event in Shanghai. The girl used to be a member of her school's basketball team and played table tennis, so she accepted the chance to train for the Shanghai women's team without hesitation.
"I am quite fortunate. People in China say 'there will be blessings after a great disaster'. In fact, for me, it may just be a change of lifestyle, a change of platform, and this platform gives me a higher value." Tang showed great progress in her training and later joined the national team, eventually winning gold at the 2012 Paralympic Games.
The women's sitting volleyball tournament at the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games will take place from 27 August to 5 September 2021.