More on the proposed Olympic competition schedule changes

Posted in 2008 Olympics at 5:37 pm by Nicole

Time magazine has picked up the story of the proposed changes to the Beijing Olympic schedule. The article includes a PDF copy of a letter by Kerry Stokes, chairman of Australia’s Olympic sports network, Channel Seven, to IOC chairman Jacques Rogge about his concerns about the proposed changes. According to Stokes’ letter, other schedule changes under consideration in addition to the swimming finals include some track and field events and the men’s basketball final.

The Current News

Posted in General at 2:21 pm by Nicole

Rough week at Shantou…grading, exams, grading, exams, and rainy weather every day last week – or maybe it’s just that World Cup here starts at 9 p.m. and goes until 6 a.m. or so, and your esteemed China Sports Blog author is fast becoming a fairly diehard World Cup fan. I was all set to go to sleep last night after a rockin’ potluck farewell party for the foreign teachers leaving Shantou this year (myself included) when I flipped on the first five minutes of the Ghana-Czech Republic game…and Ghana (Ghana!) scored a goal. How could I not watch? I stumbled off to bed in the middle of the night…Woke up for a lecture on campus this morning on traditional Chinese medicine, but I have to admit I’m walking around in a bit of a stupor at the moment. World Cup Fatigue? I’ll think up a good name for this ailment soon…All I know is, the U.S. is playing Ghana on Thursday and I’ll be watching in a bar in Hong Kong…can’t wait!

And to the news:

World Cup: From the China Post (Taiwan), World Cup, Sans Chinese.

Yao Ming Update: From a bunch of quickie news items at the Baltimore Sun, one on the recovery of the Chinese national team (and Houston Rockets) center – “Yao Ming said his chances of playing for China this summer in the world championships are ’50-50′ as he continues to recover from a broken left foot.” (That’s all the news item said, so I’ve saved you a click if you don’t also want to read about all the American sports news on the site.)

Softball in China: The World Championships will be held from August 27-September 5 in Bejing. It’s the first international event to be held at an Olympic venue and as such, is considered an Olympic test event, according to news reports. From the People’s Daily Online, two softball-related articles this week: Championships to test Games Preparation and For the Sheer Love of Softball.

It’s not the China Sports Blog, but…: China fan scores big with blog – a World Cup blog by a Beijing resident who does podcasts and skits from his apartment.

The BOCOG scandal: In case you’ve been hiding under a rock (or, um, watching late-night soccer matches), you might not be aware that BOCOG suffered its first public scandal this week with the sacking of its construction chief. It’s being heavily covered in the media, as expected. Beijing promises clean Olympics following corruption scandal (Agence France-Press, via TodayOnline.com).


Thursday’s News

Posted in 2008 Olympics at 3:50 pm by Nicole

Liu Zhihua is out, Ji Lin is in: Beijing Selects New Leader for Olympic Construction (ESPN.com). Also covered in the Wall Street Journal (paid subscription required) and a multitude of other news outlets.

Sailing in Qingdao: Qingdao gears up for sailing regatta (China Daily). Qingdao will host Olympic sailing events in 2008.

Liu Xiang is good to go: Liu a good example for injured athletes (China Daily). A story about how Liu correctly rested his injured foot earlier this year instead of pushing himself to compete. (Editor’s note: if the number of Liu Xiang television ads is any indication, Liu did a lot of “resting” on high-end television commercial sets. In the past few weeks alone I’ve seen his TV ads for Coca-Cola, Visa credit cards, China Mobile (the main telecommunications company here), and several other companies – and print ads for the boxed milk I drink in China, of all things. Will Liu become the next Tian Liang – the disgraced gold-medal diver forced off the national team for having too many commercial engagements and not enough practice time with his team? Hopefully not…but Liu does seem very overexposed at the moment if my modest amount of television-watching is any indication.)

We’re ba-aaack

Posted in General at 3:41 pm by Nicole

Murphy’s China Sports Blog law: the amount of time you have to update the blog will be inversely proportional to the amount of news there is to post to the blog, especially during grading week at Shantou University. And especially when your blog’s host server is inaccessible for much of the business day when you want to update it. Whew. Anyway, we’re back.

Before getting to the day’s news, here’s a shoutout to our vast array of international guests. In the last two days alone the China Sports Blog has welcomed visitors from China, the United States, Great Britain, Portugal, Italy, United Arab Emirates, Singapore, Mexico, Kuwait, Germany, Canada, and Oman. Everyone’s looking for World Cup schedules for CCTV-5, so remember to check the CCTV-5 page on this very blog to get all the necessary links to keep you up to date on World Cup happenings. Word out of the U.S. is that People May Be Starting To Care about the tournament. We shall see…

In China, of course, you can’t get a Big Mac these days without seeing World Cup action, since the flat-screen TV is right there next to the cash registers. Ka-ching! That’s the sound of a lot of people in China making a lot of money from an event that China’s not even participating in. Just you wait for 2008….


Blog back tomorrow

Posted in General at 5:44 pm by Nicole

It’s been a busy day of grading final papers and such things at Shantou (and I may have been just a *tad* underslept after fighting to stay awake through a midnight showing of the U.S.-Czech Republic game last night)…so the blog will return tomorrow with all the latest news clips. Remember that the NBA and World Cup games are being shown live on CCTV-5, so just check the start times and add six hours to Germany time to get China’s broadcast time, and twelve hours to U.S. Eastern daylight time. Happy viewing!


News Headlines

Posted in 2008 Olympics, Football, Sports Business, Track and Field/Athletics at 3:24 pm by Nicole


Wistful fans wish China were there as World Cup kicks off (People’s Daily Online)

Goooooal-obalization! (Los Angeles Times – a great, informative look at the fight for China’s sports fans: Will it be NBA basketball or European football that wins the hearts and minds of the Chinese?)

China TV expects 10 billion to tune in for finals (Reuters UK)

All eyes on Germany for China’s illegal gamblers (Reuters India)

2008 Olympics:

Beijing Sacks Olympic Construction Head (Channel Nine News, Australia)

US and Chinese Olympic Committees sign Memorandum of Understanding (Associated Press, via the Olympian (WA); the Orange County (CA) Register also reported the story)

NBC wants morning swimming finals in 2008 (Globe and Mail; also reported by the China Daily with comments from Alan Thompson, Australia’s swimming coach, and the Sydney Morning Herald with more comments from Thompson. The SMH printed a second article today on the proposal questioning whether the decision would be in the athletes’ best interests.)

Track and Field: Canada wins against China in Harry Jerome Meet (Runners Web).

Sports Business: Puma confident about its prospects (TMCnet)

A Great Sports Weekend

Posted in General at 2:02 pm by Nicole

It’s official: the World Cup has arrived. In China, that means live matches starting at 9 p.m….or midnight…or the ungodly hour of 3 a.m. In Shantou, it means that every hotel, bar, and casual eating establishment has a television somewhere on the premises. We have something like four McDonald’s restaurants in Shantou, and I can personally confirm that at least two of them have flat-screen televisions perpetually tuned to CCTV-5.

Several foreign teachers got together at Shantou on Saturday night to watch the England-Paraguay match, and I have to admit I started to get into it after a while. For a self-professed sports nut, it’s, well, nuts that I’d never seen David Beckham play before this year’s World Cup. Verdict: very impressive. That’s some corner kick he’s got there. Seriously, though, it’s nice to be spending this quadrennial World Cup time in a country that actually cares about the tournament.

Elsewhere, it was a great weekend in tennis…though not as great as hoped for where the Chinese were concerned. Zheng Jie and Yan Zi lost in the French Open women’s doubles semifinals, but made their seeding (4) by getting there. Rafael Nadal and Justine Henin-Hardenne repeated as singles champions; Nadal kept his record clay-court victory streak alive and denied finalist Roger Federer a non-calendar-year Grand Slam in the process. Wish list: live coverage of the event in China. But with the, ahem, World Cup taking up CCTV-5′s live broadcast hours from Europe, that may be too much to wish for. Anyone want to send me a DVD of NBC’s coverage?

Coming up in a moment: news clips from the weekend.


Security for 2008

Posted in 2008 Olympics at 1:07 pm by Nicole

The China Daily reports that the Olympic security staff is starting to rehearse for 2008. With two major sports championships to be held in Beijing this summer, the time is right for the staff to begin trying out their skills at actual sporting events. The IAAF junior world track and field championships will be held from August 15-20, and the 2006 ISF World Softball Championships will be held from August 27-September 5.

Women’s Doubles Semis today at the French

Posted in Tennis at 1:03 pm by Nicole

Zheng Jie and Yan Zi will play their French Open semifinal today against Daniela Hantuchova and Ai Sugiyama. The schedule of matches for Court Suzanne Lenglen has Zheng and Yan playing the second match of the day. Match play begins at 11:00 a.m. in France (5:00 p.m. in China). CCTV-5 doesn’t look like it will have the match on today – the entire afternoon and evening schedule is World Cup-centric. Perhaps the final, if Zheng and Yan get through? We’ll watch and see.


Track and field, Football and More

Posted in 2008 Olympics, Basketball, Football, Sports Business, Track and Field/Athletics at 11:53 am by Nicole

Tennis: Zheng Jie and Yan Zi are another step closer to a second Grand Slam title. They defeated Anna Chakvetadze and Elena Vesnina (4-6, 6-2, 6-1) yesterday to advance to the semifinals of the French Open. Their next opponents are the 5th-seeded team of Daniela Hantuchova and Ai Sugiyama.

Track and Field: The Harry Jerome Track Classic will be held later today in Vancouver, Canada. The meet features a competition between the Canadian and Chinese track and field teams for the Pacific World Cup. The Runner’s Web feature linked above has lots of excellent information about the history of the competition between the two countries.

In Turin, Italy, Ma Ning won the women’s javelin in the IAAF athletics meeting held earlier this week. Ma won the event with a throw of 59.91m. Second place went to Zhara Bani (59.04m). In Florence, Russia beat China and Italy in a three-way meet that saw a young Chinese team getting experience ahead of 2008.

Football: China’s “friendly” against France yesterday wasn’t too friendly to French striker Djibril Cisse. Cisse broke his leg during the match, which will keep him out of the World Cup. Fox Sports Australia (via Agence France Presse) has the story.

With all the hoopla about tomorrow’s start of the men’s World Cup, here’s a reminder for football fans everywhere: don’t forget about the women. The 2007 Women’s World Cup in Football will be held in China from September 10-30. Unlike in the men’s World Cup, the women’s event is extremely strong in China and the host country should be a contender.

The World Cup tour group mess involving a Chinese ticket agency continues, according to the Daily Yomiuri. Steep cancellation fees for airline and hotel reservations will mean no refunds for the 608 people who bought tour packages through Max Air Service in Japan, which was to have received World Cup tickets through China International Sports Travel Corporation.

Basketball: India should follow the “China model” in developing grassroots interest in basketball, according to former NBA player Robert Reid. Zeenews.com (India) is running a story on Reid’s recent trip to a three-day youth basketball camp in India. According to the article, Reid would like to see India focus on developing a team that can place in the top five in the Asian Games or the Commonwealth Games – a strategy employed by China to build support for the game. Whatever China did, it sure is working – the China Sports Blog gets many inquiries daily from people who want to know when the NBA finals will be shown on CCTV-5. If India can do for the NBA what China has already done, watch out.

Sports Business: “Cross-media technologies.” That’s the buzzword for all of the marketing around the World Cup that focuses on delivering information content to subscribers through a variety of media, including of course mobile phones and other “mobile” media-delivery devices. Information Society Technologies has a feature story on the ways in which cross-media technologies are being used to market the World Cup.

Havas has launched a sports-marketing arm in China, according to Forbes. Lucien Boyer, CEO of Havas’s sports marketing division, is quoted in the article as saying that he expects China to have the second-largest advertising market in the world within a decade.

2008 Olympics: UPS has signed a memorandum of understanding with BOCOG to provide express delivery services during the Beijing Olympics. Elsewhere in Olympic planning, Beijing is working on responses to any public-health outbreaks that could occur during the Olympics.

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