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Page last updated at 13:25 GMT, Thursday, 24 July 2008 14:25 UK

Team China: Yao Ming
Yao Ming

Probably the most-recognised Chinese athlete around the world, the big man from Shanghai plies his trade in the NBA, where - at 7'6'' - he is the basketball league's tallest player.

He was the country's flag bearer for the Opening Ceremony of the Athens Games, but in Beijing his star is likely to be eclipsed by the attention on Liu Xiang - a situation not helped by the fact China are unlikely to figure on the basketball podium.

Yao has been the top earning celebrity in China for the last five years and has a string of major endorsements to his name.