The Chinese women's teams of the mid-90s were all incredible, but 1997 was a standout year. Every single athlete at the World Championships was absolutely world class on one or more events.
There was the elegant Meng Fei (that floor routine!), the dynamic Kui Yuanyuan (that beam routine!), the star power of Mo Huilan (a bit past her prime, perhaps, but still lovely), the capable Bi Wenjing, who tied Amy Chow for the silver medal on bars at the Atlanta Olympics, Liu Xuan, who would go on to win the 2000 Olympic gold medal on balance beam.
And there was the most incredible but least recognized of them all, Zhou Duan.
Zhou, like some of the greatest of the Soviets, had only one good year, and 1997 was it. Though she qualified for vault finals at the Lausanne Worlds (where she did a tucked Rudi and clean Yurchenko 1.5), but we didn't hear from her on the international stage again.
I loved Zhou's classic and powerful floor exercise, but where she really stood out -- even on the Chinese team -- was on bars (check out her routine here.) While Mo and Bi had both done Gaylords in their routines in 1996, Zou took it a step further, throwing a Gaylord II that was cleaner than a lot of the men who perform the skill today (Epke Zonderland, I'm looking at you.)
Zhou was never better than at the 1997 East Asian Games, where she did not only the Gaylord II but a lovely Gienger to Pak salto and a breathtaking double layout. On floor, she had standout choreography and music at a time before the Chinese started employing Adi Pop to do their floor routines. She's one of the hidden gems of gymnastics.