Sunday, August 3, 2008

Seattle Times column by Steve Kelley on James Li...

Seattle Times columnist Steve Kelley writes in Sunday's edition, "Words were exploding out of John Chaplin's mouth, an eruption of English so rapid his Chinese interpreter was overwhelmed. It was like trying to interpret for an auctioneer.

Chaplin, then the track and field coach at Washington State, doesn't just speak, he revs like a race car. He talks in rapid-fire, multi-syllabic soliloquies.

Li Li, a coach at the Sichuan Sports Institute in Chengdu, and also a well-regarded 800-meter runner, was given the job.

"He spoke impeccable English," Chaplin said. "He spoke English better than most Americans."

And Li could keep pace, word-for-word, with Chaplin.

Li, now 47, became a United States citizen in 1998 and, as a tribute to the man who opened the door to this wonderful life, he asked Chaplin's permission to change his name to James Li (above/photo courtesy University of Arizona), in honor of Chaplin's oldest son James, who died in an automobile accident."

Click here to read the full story on Li, the men's US Olympic track team manager, and coach of Bernard Lagat...

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