Saturday, February 9, 2008

Interesting: All work and no play slows China's Olympians

From Times Online
February 8, 2008

Western coaches say an obsession with training could work against the home country as they seek to strike gold in Beijing

A silver medal is like fourteenth place - that was the message relayed recently to China's Olympians. And, with six months to go today until the Beijing Games, this is why you would be hard-pushed to find a group of professional sportsmen and women who are under more pressure than the the home team at the Olympics in the summer.

They must do it for their country and for the Party, and it must be gold. Nothing else is good enough. And, crucially, they must win more gold medals than the United States.

From the outside, Westerners sit in wonderment: what are those Chinese up to? Before 1984, China had not won an Olympic gold medal; they won 32 in 2004, four fewer than the US, so they represent the fastest-growing Olympic force since East Germany.

The similarities with the East German model raise the fascination, too. China is also working hard behind a veil of secrecy. Likewise, China has had doping issues. The difference is that, on this occasion, the secrets can get out.

More at the Times Online

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