The Chinese team featured 29 defending champions from the Beijing games,  including springboard diver Wu Minxia , light flyweight boxer Zou Shiming , gymnasts Zou Kai and Chen Yibing , and badminton player Lin Dan . Pistol shooter and former Olympic medalist Tan Zongliang , the oldest male member of the contingent, aged 41, competed at his fifth Olympic games . Meanwhile, fencer Li Na and basketball player Wang Zhizhi each made their fourth Olympic appearance . Trap shooter Liu Yingzi was the oldest athlete of the team, aged 41, while relay swimmer Qiu Yuhan was the youngest, aged 14. Basketballer Yi Jianlian , who had previously played for the NBA 's Dallas Mavericks , was the nation's flag bearer at the opening ceremony . 
In the 1970s, China normalized her relations with the United States through Ping Pong Diplomacy , and established diplomatic relations with the United States on January 1, 1979. The normalization finally led to the Chinese Olympic Committee 's return to the IOC on October 25, 1979.  Just three months later, China participated in the 1980 Winter Olympics at Lake Placid, USA, its first appearance in 28 years since the 1952 Summer Olympics . China boycotted the 1980 Summer Olympics at Moscow, USSR. Since the 1984 Winter Olympics in Sarajevo, Yugoslavia, China has participated in all subsequent Summer Olympics and Winter Olympics.
Culturally, women's volleyball fielded the first ever Chinese team to be successful on a global scale, and was of great importance in the early 1980s, when the team was largely followed in China. In the early 1980s, China was still poor and much in need of development to improve people's lives, with hard-working and fighting spirit, the Chinese women's volleyball team won three and five consecutive championships, such achievement became the role model and pride of the Chinese and was also the symbol of China's economic take-off in the 80s.