Shanghaiist has a funny, funny commentary on the woes of Huang Jianxiang, who made a name for himself this week on CCTV-5 by calling the Italy-Australia game as though he was a certified member of Italy’s “La-la-dui” (Chinese for “cheering squad”). It includes a clip of the video in question, as well as an audio clip and Huang’s public apology for his one-sided commentary. Warning to the under-18 gang: it also includes some not-so-nice examples of English-language expletives. But it’s still funny.
Also in the World Cup/Chinese culture subset of the sports news this week: a nice piece from the Inter Press Service News Agency on Beijing’s World Cup culture. Where to watch, where to drink, where to be when the games are on. World Cup in Europe gives Asia some serious nightlife, since the earliest games in the first round started at 9 p.m. China time – and the latest at 3 a.m. And yes, all those pubs and eateries and big-screen televisions in the parks are open for business until the final referee’s whistle sounds.
Once in a while you see an article about life in your neck of the woods and you say to yourself, oh yes, this writer got it right. So it is with Howard W. French’s article in the International Herald Tribune (originally published in the New York Times), “Minding Their Manners, Looking to the Olympics.” Read the “hello” story at the end of the piece and then, well, just trust me: it’s so true.
Catching up after a few days in Hong Kong with limited Internet access…Here are the news headlines from the last few days.
Football: Chinese commentator in spotlight for losing his cool in World Cup broadcast (English.eastday.com); Asian soccer fans looking far afield (International Herald Tribune); Tough Melbourne smash up China (Townsville Bulletin, Australia)
Basketball: Yao takes his time to recover (China Daily); NBA to distribute HIV/AIDS material in China (The Times of India)
Olympics – general news: CEO: US Lacks Clout (Miami Herald – mentions China); China prepares for success at Olympics (NDTV.com) – a story featuring the Shishahai Sports School in Beijing, the country’s most famous school for training elite athletes
Olympics – the 2008 swimming schedule: U.S. spark dawn chorus of disapproval (Times Online, UK); Sink or swim for pool events (Shanghai Daily)
Beijing Olympic Arts Festival: Beijing International Sports Film Week to open (CRIEnglish.com); Festival inspires Olympic awareness (China Daily); Great Wall gets the Olympic touch (www.stuff.co.nz – New Zealand)
More on Cuba and China: Cuba and China strengthening sports ties (ACN – Cuban News Agency)
And here are a few recent features to check out:
Everybody’s Game (Phillipine Daily Inqurier). A story about – what else? – football…Mentions the fact that the an ancient version of the game originated in China, and tracks the popularity of the sport in the Phillipines.
Blazing A Trail (Time Asia). The story of China’s aid relationship with Africa isn’t new news, but Wen Jiabao’s trip to Africa last week was the impetus for a story tracking the deep level of involvement China has in the development of the African continent, including funding sports facilities in many African countries – there’s mention of funds being offered for a sports stadium in Kenya in this piece.
Suddenly it feels like every day there’s more and more to write about in the Chinese sporting universe – and less and less time to do it well. The blog will go to a three-days-per-week format starting this week so that there’s more time to spend analyzing the news of the week and seeing what’s most important to CSB readers. Check out the blog Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays – with an occasional weekend or Tuesday/Thursday update tossed in as time and events allow.
Track and field: More on the Hershey’s Track and Field Classic (U.S. vs. China)(Philadelphia Daily News); The Official Press Release for the Event (Yahoo Finance)
The Olympic Scheduling Controversy: Lenton slams NBC TV’s Olympic Swim Campaign and Time Switch May Be A Plus: Talbot (The Age, Australia)
The BOCOG Official-Sacking Controversy: Beijing Corruption Case Signals Political Battle (Reuters India)
Tennis: China Pleased About Wimbledon Seeding for Li (CRIEnglish.com) Editor’s note: This is a big deal. With her 28th-place seeding at Wimbledon, Li Na becomes China’s first seeded player in a Grand Slam singles championsip.
Rugby: Leicester helps build Chinese dynasty and Johnson and Underwood Lead Leicester’s Chinese Takeaway (Times Online, UK); British rugby stars impart skills to Chinese kids (ZeeNews.com)
Winter Asian Games: UAE for Asian Games ice hockey (Gulfnews.com) Editor’s Note: The Winter Asian Games will be held in Changchun, China from January 28-February 4.
Sports diplomacy: Cuban Sport Leader Visits China (Escambray, Cuba)
More on 2008: China prepares Olympic menu with Chinese characteristics (People’s Daily Online)
I squeezed into the very crowded back room of a SoHo pub in Hong Kong last night at 10 p.m. to watch the U.S.-Ghana game. As the two bonafide underdogs in their group, I guess it makes sense that this was the less-sexy game to watch, but I had no idea by how much…in the pub itself there were several televisions, one huge big-screen projection TV, and many multiples of fans than were in the back room – all eyes glued to the Italy-Czech Republic game. It was an almost entirely pro-American crowd in that little smoky back roomÂ - lots of great American accents, lots of expats, some study-abroad university students (including a sweet guy from USC who explained some of the nuances of the game to me) and their friends…For a moment it actually felt like the United States had actual soccer fans…and then Ghana got the penalty kick at the end of the first half, and all the energy of the match just went to nothing…We knew. Even then, it was hard not to feel as though it just wasn’t going to be our night.
The pub stayed open for the 3 a.m. matches, but your CSB correspondent headed home around 12:30 a.m. A good night out with countrypeople…bummer for the not-so-great result. But SoHo during the World Cup is great fun.
SuperAthletics (South Africa) reports that a group of elite U.S. track and field athletes will compete against China as part of the Hershey’s Track and Field Classic in Hershey, PA on August 5. The Chinese team members will be announced at a later date.
How is the World Cup playing in Hong Kong? Quite well, if the scene earlier this evening in the SoHo bar district had anything to do with it. Huge inflatable soccer balls with the adidas and FIFA World Cup logos hang over the streets, as do scores of Carlsberg beer adverts, some adorned with the English flag (the white one with the red cross that I never knew existed until this year’s World Cup…not the Union Jack of Great Britain). Every bar with a television is tuned to the World Cup, and one bar is advertising cheap drinks and eats for both the 10:00 p.m. (China time) Portugal-Mexico game, as well as the 3 a.m. Netherlands-Argentina game (or was it the Ivory Coast-Serbia and Montenegro game…). Beers at 3 a.m. on a Thursday morning in SoHo in Hong Kong for anyone interested…Now just imagine what life is like in a country with an actual team playing. Mine, for instance. The U.S. plays Ghana tomorrow night in a must-win match at the relatively kind hour of 10:00 p.m. China time (4 p.m. in Germany) and I’ll be interested to see how many American fans (and fans of the American team) show up in HK to cheer on their team.
Yes, you read it right: Catch-Up. That’s the name of a new sport here at the CSB, and the rules of the game are simple. Catch up on posting all of the week’s news after you’ve been snowed under with work for a week, no matter how long it takes or how painfully slow it feels. In a week in which the 2008 Olympic competition schedule was turned upside down and BOCOG sacked an official for corruption that allegedly included multiple mistresses in multiple luxury homes around Beijing, I’ve been completely swamped with work at Shantou. In the meantime, news clips piled up on my desk just begging to be posted on the blog.
Trust me, it has not been a slow news week. On to the headlines:
The BOCOG scandal: Shadow of corruption hangs over Olympics (AsiaNews.it); Beijing Games bribery scandal (The Age, Australia); BOCOG seeks distance from sacked official (Gulf Times, Doha, Qatar); China’s media in unusual call for transparency (Financial Times, registration required)
Olympic scheduling: Olympic swimmers, rise and shine! (Time magazine); Olympic Swim Decision Delayed (Fox Sports); IOC has final say in turning the clocks back (The Australian); Phelps staying motivated as IOC considers altering Beijing swim meets for U.S. TV times (USA Today); TV chief pleads: Don’t move the goalposts (Sydney Morning Herald)
Olympic environmental issues: (Hawaiian) Isles Help Beijing Battle Foul Air (Honolulu Star-Bulletin); The Dirty Secret of China’s Economy (Business Week Online via WPXI.com Pittsburgh, PA, USA)
Other Olympic news: Beijing offers cheaper hotel rooms for Olympic guests (People’s Daily Online)
Paralympics: Beijing 2008 Concentrates on Media (Sports Features Communications)
Football: China downs the Matildas (Fox Sports Australia)
Dragon Boat Racing: China’s champs have been training for ’600 years’” (Daily Express, Malaysia)
Sports Business: NBA, Coke Expand Alliance (Brandweek); Olympic-themed Lenovo F20 Sports Coca-Cola Design (I4U News); China chiefs jet in for C-Zone (SportBusiness.com)
Rugby (yes, rugby in China!): Leicester Tigers sign up to help Chinese rugby (Reuters UK)
Basketball: Rockets Star Yao says he’s 50-50 to play in world basketball championships (Slam! Sports Canada); Georgetown alum is coaching Yao Ming: Interview (People’s Daily Online) [CSB note: it's a tenuous basketball connection...but an interesting read nonetheless with the president of Georgetown University in Washington, D.C.]
Chinese acrobatics: Shanghai Surprise (Chicago Tribune)
Whew! That’s all for now…more later.
National Public Radio has a great site devoted to World Cup coverage. Enjoy!
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