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XIE Gang - Better view ahead

XIE Gang is a senior student in class one of Athletic Training, School of Physical Education. With his love for orienteering, he won the champion of the 2009 National Student Orienteering Championship. With his passion for cycling tour, he biked to Hunan, Guangxi, Qinghai and other provinces. In the year of 2011, he extinguished a fire with wit and bravery, thus was awarded the title of the People of the Year Who Moves SCUT.
 
Mountains cannot prevent a boy from seeing afar, XIE Gang, a boy born in Hengyang, Hunan province, has found his way of freeing his mind by orienteering.
 
Orienteering is a sport that requires navigational skills by using a map and compass to navigate from point to point in diverse and usually unfamiliar terrain, and normally moving at speed. It is a rising sport and only popular among a small number of people in China. XIE loves it for he enjoys the process of achieving a goal, and spectacular views on the journey.
 
Journey to Beijing Olympics with 100,000 flags 
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In 2008 when XIE was just admitted by SCUT as a freshman, he was determined to extend his orienteering route to the country. Therefore, with another 9 orienteering lovers who just graduated from high school and had never cycled far out of Hunan province, he made an attempt to propagandize Olympic knowledge by cycling along the route of the torch relay.  
 
"We collected a small sum of money to buy small-sized Olympic flags and national flags as our means of propaganda." XIE said. They spent 10,000 RMB buying the flags in Guangzhou, where they made it their start of the journey, and passed 14 cities and 8 provinces including Changsha, Xi-an, Changchun, Qingdao, etc. They offered the flags to the citizens to express their supports to the Beijing Olympic Games.
 
People acknowledged and supported their deeds. An old couple in Xi-an highly praised them and insisted to pay 50 RMB for the flags they gave for free. The 10 boys persuaded passersby to improve their manners as to welcome the Beijing Olympic Games, while they themselves passed the zebra crossing in a row like pupils.
 
Their journey following the torch relay was quite consuming and they met with economic crisis soon. Fortunately, XIE was aware that Olympic T-Shirts were popular in the cities on the torch relay route which they could make some money. The wholesales price is 7 RMB while the retail price reaches 15. "We sold Olympic T-Shirts to solve money problem." XIE explained. Thus they arrived at a city one day before the torch came so that they could sell T-shirts, and joined torch relay ceremony the next day. The best sale they made was in Qinhuangdao where they earned 6,000 RMB. When looking back upon the experience, it may not be proper or mature for these high school graduates to conduct such thing, however, it's something that they are proud of, for they are able to support themselves.
 
It's also noted that the ten boys had to squeeze on three beds to save money. In the hardest time, they drunk a bottle of beer of 1.5 RMB to stuff themselves, and slept on street with pieces of newspapers as bedding. Exhausted as they were, they did not care about sleeping on the hard cement pavement under the sky without any shelter until the sanitation workers woke them up at dawn.
 
Finally, the long-distance journey ended with success. When they reached Changchun, they had already followed the torch for hours, giving flags and shouting slogans to support Beijing Olympics. They shouted and sang to themselves: the day when I embarked on the journey, I was leaving for my restless heart, for dignity of my living, for the searching of my soul; bitterness of my journey was resolved in my eyes, predicament of my soul was transformed into my strength.
 
Cycling: an attitude toward life
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One may hardly understand what pleasure orienteering is if he has never tried it. As an active participant of orienteering club, XIE feels extremely embarrassed when club activities lack participants since orienteering is not popular among common people. How to solve the problem? He comes up with the idea of replacing orienteering by long-distance cycling, since cycling is similar to orienteering in its requirement of physical ability and wisdom, and also in the accumulation of small success to reach the final victory. What's more, cycling is common to people thus easy to attract more participants.
 
During his university days, XIE called out several cycling activities with the slogan of Happy Cycling, Experiencing Nature. The first activity was a 900 km-long cycling trip with 7 cycling lovers, crossing Hengyang, Hunan province to Yangshuo, Guangxi province, then back to Hengyang and ending in Changsha, Hunan. Later came a 1,000 km-long cycling from Nanning, Guangxi to Xingyi, Guizhou and Kunming, Yunnan as the end of the tour, which was a tough trip with 3 students. After he returned from National Student Orienteering Championship in Hainnan as the champion, he rushed on another cycling trip, which started from Xi-ning, Qinghai and cycle around Qinghaihu Lake with 5 students.
 
Until now his trip around Qinghaihu Lake remains so clear in mind. XIE describes it with poetic words: vast grassland under the blue sky, white sky floating over the sheep, enjoying the green of nature; golden rape flowers are home of bees and butterflies, however, we, like the one or two birds passing through, are the strangers here. Blue lake water mingling with the blue sky, white clouds stealing smile of the sun; breeze flows over as if tickling the sheep, the shepherd riding his horse in the flock of sheep. I'm cycling, on this grassland, under this blue sky and white clouds, breathing the light aroma of the grass, while the saint Qinghaihu Lake are there in the distance presenting a magnificent picture scroll.
  
The most unforgettable along the journey is the kind and unsophisticated Tibetans. Once on the bank of Qinghaihu Lake, a Tibetan boy named Gabu riding his horse asked shyly, "Brothers, can I ride your bike?" They agreed. Then they started teaching each other how to ride their bike and horse. That night, they were invited to Gabu's home, drinking kumiss (the horse milk) for the first time. And also for the first time, they felt too full by eating so much delicious lamb and found hard to get asleep. Therefore, they lied awake, staring at the dark sky where luminous band of stars shined, so closed to touch.
 
"Cycling is your attitude toward life and also a way of being a human." XIE pointed out. Though on the cycling tour, they are lonely travelers, small smile or help from passersby may bring warmth to them and will encourage them to pass such kindness to others. On the journey, they considered themselves a tribe on migration, thus they had to wisely solve food problems, housing, transportation, etc, and to settle quarrels and disputes. On the road, natural beauty, as well as human spirit, are feast for their eyes. Escaping from the noisy city life, they feel like returning into a mood of cleanness.
 
Embracing life challenge with courage
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Orienteering, a sport with requirements of wisdom as well as physical strength, tests people's ability in dealing with emergencies.
 
One day in this April, one of the teacher dormitories in western district, SCUT, caught fire. Heavy smoke ran fiercely upward, the flame burning out of windows. It's spreading! Helpless people gathered downstairs, in great panic.
 
XIE and his classmates were just doing exercise in the stadium nearby. Hearing screams of help, he quickly ran to the building. Finding the front door inaccessible, he rushed to the back of the house, climbed to the roof of the storage room and the racket of the air-conditioner, and jumped into the balcony of the dormitory on the second floor. At this time his coach and the school security guards connected the firefighting lance and he broke into the house and put out the fire with the fire hose. Due to the quick and proper response, fire was extinguished in time thus greater loss was avoided.
 
"I persist in exercise for orienteering, which makes me sensitive to the environment. Fire fighting is like a 100-meter orienteering competition, and what I need to do is to keep calm when I feel excited, deciding the most suitable route and achieving my goal in the shortest time," XIE said. Sports bring him not only strong body but also calmness and bravery, with which he was encouraged to fight fire and to win competitions in the days to come.
 
With orienteering skills and a heart for nature, XIE never stops his journey cross China. He said: "We are happy tramps, searching happiness on the journey, which is a journey of soul, an experience of life and a time of deep thinking. On the journey we are out of the dusty world, focusing on the road underfoot and the better view ahead. "