China acknowledged it has no chance of winning more medals than the United States at the 2008 Beijing Olympics.
"It is impossible," Cui Dalin, assistant sports minister and vice president of China's Olympic Committee, said. "Elite sports in the U.S. are very strong."
China finished second in gold medals and third in the overall tally at the 2004 Athens Olympics. Last month, International Olympic Committee President Jacques Rogge said he wouldn't be surprised if the host nation led the medal standings in Beijing.
But Cui, speaking on the eve of the 1,000-day countdown to the Games, dismissed any suggestions the Chinese could overtake the United States and Russia as the top Olympic power in 2008 or in the near future.
China had 32 gold medals and 63 overall in Athens for its best finish. The United States won 35 gold and 103 total while Russia had 27 and 92. While the Americans won just three more golds than China, Cui noted they had 40 more overall.
Russia won 29 more medals than China but five fewer gold.
Cui said China expects to increase its medal count in Beijing, but declined to make a prediction. The country reportedly has set a goal of 110 medals.
-- From News Services