"There isn't a best individual, only a best team."
There is little doubt that Lang Ping is one of volleyball's greats. The Tianjin-born "Iron Hammer" won two Women's World Cups, one World Championship, and an Olympic Games gold medal as a player before becoming a widely-celebrated coach. When she led the Chinese women's team to gold at Rio 2016, she became the first person to win gold as both a player and a coach.
Lang was first selected for the Chinese national team in 1978, aged 18. Quickly becoming a mainstay of the team, the outside hitter led the Chinese team to triumph at four consecutive international championships – the 1981 and 1985 World Cups, the 1982 World Championship, and the 1984 Olympic Games. She first retired from playing in 1986, moving to the U.S. to study and coach at the University of New Mexico, but made a short return to the court a few years later during which she won World Championship silver in 1990.
Her first spell in charge as head coach of the Chinese team brought a World Cup bronze and World Championship and Olympic silver, earmarking her legacy as a cultural icon throughout the country. Many older Chinese still associate her name with the country's booming sports prowess in the early 1980s.
Lang took up a position with the U.S. national team in 2005, having agonised over the decision for three months. Public debate was fierce in China, but ultimately Lang accepted the job to be closer to her American-born daughter. "Now China's volleyball coaches can be 'exported' to coach in the U.S., a traditional sports power, it's an honour," she said. "There are many foreign coaches in China, so what's so odd about Chinese coaching foreign teams?"
Although she kept her Chinese citizenship, Lang was criticised in some quarters as a "traitor" when she coached the U.S. team to a win over her homeland at Beijing 2008 en route to winning silver. But she returned to head the Chinese team in 2013, winning back those who disagreed with her decision in 2005, and success in Rio cemented her place in volleyball history.
"Friends of Time" Reunite Again
On September 23, 2022, Ms. Lang Ping signed an endorsement contract with China Seagull Brand in Beijing, becoming the first brand ambassador since the launch of Seagull's brand revitalization plan.
China Seagull, inheriting 66 years of history and culture in the domestic clock and watch industry, joins hands again with Lang Ping, a legend in Chinese women's volleyball who dares to climb and break through challenges. Together they become "Friends of Time" to boost Seagull's brand renewal efforts.
Seagull's connection with Lang Ping can be traced back to the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics. That year, Lang Ping, as the team's main attacker, led the Chinese women's volleyball team to win the first Olympic gold medal. As the first domestic enterprise to sponsor China's sports undertakings, Tianjin Watch Factory presented the Olympic Chinese women’s volleyball team with Seagull watches equipped with domestically developed movements. It was the first time Lang Ping wore a Seagull watch.
Lang Ping's Speech at the Signing Ceremony
"I am honored to be the brand ambassador for Seagull watches. As a native of Tianjin, I have a special feeling for this Tianjin brand, Seagull. Moreover, throughout my volleyball career, Seagull watches have been not only a timing tool for me, but an intimate partner, giving me and the volleyball team unwavering support, witnessing our endeavors and struggles, whether in success or defeat, accompanying us all the way."
Lang Ping said she has been paying attention to Seagull's development, watching it always adhere to China's "core" technology, and constantly breakthrough and innovate courageously.
Lang Ping hopes that through herself, more people will come to love Seagull watches, understand the story behind Seagull, and cheer for Chinese manufacturing and Chinese brands.