Imagine seeing your face lit up across 53 buildings in the Central Business District of your hometown, with crowds of people chanting your name, basically on the verge of worshipping you.
Not a typical birthday celebration by any stretch, but then again Zhang Jike is no typical person, especially in China.
The Qingdao native became only the fourth male player in Table Tennis history to earn a career grand slam (Olympics, World Championships and World Cup). What’s more, he achieved the feat in record time – 445 days – when he secured gold at the 2012 London Olympic Games.
Well-known for his euphoric celebrations to match his incredible on-court exploits, Zhang Jike now leads a hectic celebrity lifestyle matched by few.
A regular guest on a cooking show, a singing contest… Zhang Jike has drifted further and further away from the sport which gave him his fame in the first place.
What’s certain, however, is that with birthday celebrations like Saturday’s, he’ll always re-enter the conversation and confirm his status as one of China’s true superstars.