The year 1979 marked a turning point in China's sports history. It was in this year that the legitimate status of China was restored in the International Amateur Athletic Federation, the Federation Internationale de Football Associations and the International Olympic Committee.
Fully aware of the harsh fact that, as a result of the "cultural revolution", the gap in the level of sports between China and other countries in the world had widened, the State Physical Culture and Sports Commission worked out a new strategy for the development of sports, which was: On the basis of combining popularization with the raising of sports level, stress should be put on raising the level and efforts should be concentrated on solving the main contradiction, namely the backward state of sports in the country. Held under such circumstances, the Fourth National Games served as a review of China's sports over the past three decades, and those concerned could take stock of the situation and map out measures for improvement in the future.
The Games, held in Beijing on September 15-30, 1979, began with the performance of the group calisthenics The New Long March at the opening ceremony. A total of over 6,000 participants contested in 34 events, including track & field and football for juniors.
A total of 182 specially invited guests from 18 countries and regions came to Beijing to watch the Games. They included eight IOC members and leaders of seven international sports organizations.
The athletes, inspired by the call "March out of Asia and onto the world," competed with might and main and succeeded in breaking five world records, equaling three others, and setting 102 national records.
A number of contestants displayed their talent at the Games. Among them were Wu Shude from Guangxi, who broke two world youth weightlifting records in the men's 52kg category, and Zou Zhengxian who won the men's triple jump title. In swimming, 23 new national records were chalked up, and remarkable progress was made by the contestants in shooting, aeromodels, diving, gymnastics and women's volleyball.