Gymnast lands major deal with insurers

Updated: 2011-07-12 11:23

By Chen Weihua and Liu Yuhan (

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NEW YORK - Chinese gymnast Sang Lan, who was paralyzed in an accident at the 1998 Goodwill Games, scored a major victory Monday after reaching an agreement with three insurance companies and the US Gymnastics Federation.

Gymnast lands major deal with insurers
Sang Lan looks on as her lawyer Hai Ming talks about the successful deal reached with three insurers and the US Gymnastics Federation yesterday afternoon in the Hai Ming Law Firm in Flushing, Queens of New York City. [Photo by Chen Weihua/China Daily] 

Under a confidential deal inked Monay afternoon after three hours of talk, the three insurers, TIG Insurance Co, Riverstone Claims and TIG Specialty Solutions agreed to cover the future medical and rehabilitation fees incurred by Sang both in US and China. The total amount could reach $10 million.

In the past, the three insurance firms only paid Sang for the fees incurred in the United States, but not those that happened in China since she was paralyzed after landing on her head during a vault warm-up on July 21, 1998 at the Goodwill Games in New York.

In addition, the three insurers also agreed to give an amount of money for Sang. But neither Sang nor her lawyer Hai Ming would reveal the exact sum, citing clauses in the confidential deal.

"It was a big day of victory in protecting my rights. Now I have (financial) guarantee for my treatment back in China starting from today," said an elated Sang, wearing big smile on her face.

"I have got what I want. The agreement we reached today with the insurers and US Gymnastics Federation has clearly stated that it was not my fault for the accident," Sang said. She said that rumors circulating on the web blaming her lack of skill for the accident have put a lot of pressure on her.

Sang described the talk as "very smoothly and conducted in a friendly mood."

Hai Ming, Sang's lawyer, also described as "a day of breakthrough victory. We got all what we have desired."

"The even greater significance has been that the US Gymnastics Federation and the three insurers stated in the agreement that Sang Lan should not be held responsible for the accident," Hai said.

He attributed the progress to Sang Lan's personal charisma, adding that they all like Sang and cared about her.

Hai said the three insurers have apologized for the lack of care for Sang in the past 13 years.

Lawyers and representatives from the three insurers and the US Gymnastics Federation would not comment on the agreement when asked by China Daily.

Sang also described Monday's victory as "achieving half of the complete success in protecting her right," implying other lawsuits that are still pending.

Sang's lawyer Hai filed lawsuits at the US District Court for the Southern District of New York against three individuals and five institutions at the end of April, seeking a total of $1.8 billion in compensation. The defendants include media mogul Ted Turner, who created the Goodwill Games, The US Gymnastics Federation, former AOL Time Warner Inc, TIG Insurance Co and Xie Xiaohong and Liu Guosheng, two legal guardians appointed after the accident.

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