“I know I missed something for not beating Jung,” Ngan told newswire VnExpress. “But today I still don’t have the answer.”
Ngan, now 38, added, “I still feel sorry for not being able to bring home the gold medal.”
Still, Ngan’s silver medal in the women’s under 57kg category marked a historic win for Vietnam, which had been coming home empty-handed ever since it joined the Olympics in Moscow 20 years earlier.
VnExpress quoted Ngan saying that someone had accused her of settling for second-best. But she responded that she cared as much about the top prize as anyone else.
“No one would ever say he doesn’t need the Olympic gold medal,” she said. “A hundred silvers is less valuable than one gold.”
Only seven Vietnamese athletes qualified for Sydney 2000, including two taekwondo artists. Going up against strong rivals, Ngan defied expectations with her runner-up status.
“I just cried before the anthem played, seeing the Vietnamese flag raised,” she said. “They were tears of happiness because Vietnam was writing its name in the list of Olympics medalists for the first time.”
She wrapped herself in the flag, jogged around the stadium, and waited for the medal ceremony.
Ngan, now a white-collar worker and youth taekwondo coach at the Ho Chi Minh City Martial Artist Center, bid goodbye to professional sports immediately after returning from Sydney. It was a decision she said she had made prior to the tournament.
She got married and had a son and daughter.
Commenting on the upcoming London games, Ngan said it’s a huge pity weightlifter Hoang Anh Tuan can’t help Vietnam bring home another medal. Tuan’s doping conviction disqualified him from the competition .
Still, “I’m happy to see Vietnamese sports leap onto the world arena, with the country sending the largest delegation ever to this year’s Olympics,” Ngan said.
Smiling, she added, “I hope my successors, Huynh Chau and Dieu Linh, can make a new miracle happen in London.”