U.S.-China soccer friendly in June…and the England-China dust-up

Posted in Football at 6:52 am by Nicole

The United States national soccer team (that’s football to, well, everyone except Americans and Australians, right?) will play a friendly against China in San Jose, California on June 2. The International Herald Tribune has the story.

It’s a bit of old news now, but there continue to be ramifications for the QPR club in England following the February 7 game/brawl with China. The People’s Daily Online has the latest.


“Generation IX”

Posted in Volleyball at 10:08 am by Nicole

If you’re in the Seattle area and you’re passionate about sport and China, you’ll want to be watching KCTS, our local public television station, this evening. “Generation IX,” a documentary that follows the 2005 NCAA champion University of Washington women’s volleyball team from the Final Four to Beijing and Shanghai, where they competed last summer, will air at 8 p.m. It’s a tremendously well-done story of the landscape of elite women’s sports in the United States today, and it features a short interview with China’s most famous Olympian of all – “Jenny” Lang Ping, 1984 Olympic gold medalist and the outside hitter for perhaps the best women’s volleyball team ever to come out of the PRC. (For those not in the know, women’s volleyball is a huge professional sport in China, with televised competitions and rock-star status for the name players.) I’ve had the pleasure of meeting the filmmakers, Jack and Leslie Hamann, as well as the UW women featured in the film, and they’re as impressive as any of the NBA players I’ve interviewed. Must-see TV in the Pacific Northwest tonight.


“A smart, finely tuned film, worth viewing by anyone who gives a hoot about young women, athlete or not …
The win, easily and enthusiastically, goes to ‘Generation IX.’”
–Florangela Davila, Seattle Times 

“This film isn’t about the past. It’s about the present, where women are training and showing
as much talent and fortitude as their male counterparts on their way to victory.”
–Victor Balta, Everett Herald

“It’s hard to watch and not be inspired.” –Wendy Carpenter, The News Tribune, Tacoma

[Also: “Documentary focuses on UW Women’s Volleyball,” –Casey McNerthney, Seattle Post-Intelligencer]

[Also: “Couple’s passion shines through in documentary,” –Florangela Davila, Seattle Times]

[Also: “Generation IX: Documentary follows UW women athletes, beneficiaries of Title IX” –Nancy Wick, University Week, University of Washington]


Love and tennis, Chinese style

Posted in Tennis at 9:21 am by Nicole

Li Na has appointed her husband as her tennis coach in an apparent first in the ranks of elite Chinese tennis players, according to AFP. Li is the best singles player ever to come out of the People’s Republic – great to watch and an excellent ball stroker. Loneliness is part and parcel of a game in which you’re on the road eleven months of the year, but the Chinese Tennis Federation doesn’t make it easy for players to have any sort of personal life – in the minds of the powers that be, any outside influence is a distraction. The article linked above makes one small factual error, claiming that Li Na’s husband, Jiang Shan, has no previous coaching experience. In an interview I did with Li Na for the Chinese edition of Sports Illustrated at the U.S. Open in September, she told me that he was a tennis coach at the university where the two of them had studied.


China competition results

Posted in Track and Field/Athletics, Winter Sports at 9:28 am by Nicole

Liu Xiang broke the Asian 60m hurdles record en route to winning the indoor meet in Karlsruhe, Germany yesterday. His winning time was 7.42 seconds.

Olympic gold medalist Wang Meng won the women’s 500m World Cup race in short track speedskating in Budapest yesterday.

China and basketball, the ongoing conversation

Posted in Basketball at 2:34 am by Nicole

Following are links to two great China basketball articles out of the Times Online (UK) by writer Ian Whittell. The first is an excellent in-depth look at Yao Ming’s transition from the Chinese basketball world to the NBA. It’s a very nuanced piece that squares completely with my own experiences interviewing Yao and talking with him about the cultural differences between China and the Western world that made his transition to the NBA so challenging…and in retrospect, make his current status as one of the NBA’s best centers seem absolutely miraculous, given the challenges he had to overcome in becoming such a fine NBA player. The second article talks more generally about the upswing in the popularity of basketball on the Chinese mainland – also a good read for everyone interested in the cultural importance of basketball in China.

How a small step for Yao can become a giant leap for China (Times Online, UK)

People’s game captures imagination of new market (Times Online, UK)

Shen and Zhao at Four Continents

Posted in Figure Skating at 2:13 am by Nicole

The figure skaters who put Chinese pairs skating on the map, Shen Xue and Zhao Hongbo, won the Four Continents Championship this past week in Colorado Springs. Great to see them back at full strength after a very challenging 2005-06 Olympic year in which Zhao was rehabilitating a ruptured Achilles tendon almost the entire way to the Olympic free skate. The pair took Olympic bronze in a competition they would certainly have been favored to win had they not lost so much ice time. They’re among China’s best international sports ambassadors – in Turin, they were a joy to watch at every practice session as they fought through it, never forgetting the importance and honor of the Olympic moment.

Figure Skating: Chinese pair wins Four Continents title (Salt Lake Tribune)

Shen and Zhao asked to stay (People’s Daily Online)

China’s top pair to rest (China Daily)


Clock updated

Posted in General at 10:36 am by Nicole

Took a little while for me to realize that the clock showing the time of blog postings had never been changed from my previous location in mainland China. Now that I’m on the U.S. west coast, I’ve set the clock to reflect the change. Just one of those housekeeping moments in the blogosphere…and how cute that the blog is “smart” enough to post this on February 11, when my two previous posts (on basketball and figure skating) were posted for February 12, China time…