Yesterday’s events have given credence to a belief in China that they will not repeat their medal winning triumph of Beijing.
China began the day at the top of the table with 17 golds — five ahead of their closest challengers, the United States. But by the close of day six they were level on 18, with the 2008 hosts only edging the battle by virtue of having more silvers.
All this week, even as China were stacking up golds, their fans had been constantly wondering whether they could hold off their biggest rivals.
Now, with the track and field having started today, they fear the Americans will take control of the medal table.
China may have surprised its main rival in the Aquatics Centre — winning nine medals, including four golds — but it is unlikely to do so in the Olympic stadium.
As one Chinese writer talking to me on strictly anonymous terms, put it: “The problem is we Chinese are not used to coming first at the Olympic Games. It is such an unusual feeling that the Chinese people are constantly asking whether we can stay there.”
That sounds very similar to what a Manchester City supporter might say about this coming season.