10.17.07

Sun Haiping on China’s “Soviet-Style” Sports System

Posted in 2008 Olympics, Track and Field/Athletics at 6:02 am by Nicole

Sun Haiping, coach of world champion 110-meter hurdler Liu Xiang, is a delegate to this week’s Party Congress in Beijing. He’s not often quoted in English, but the AFP has an excellent story today on Sun’s advocacy of a centralized sports training system. In China, of course, winning is everything, and if all of an athlete’s needs are taken care of, then of course they can devote themselves just to training. I wonder, though, if that system adequately prepare athletes for their lives after their competitive careers are over. European and American athletes might have to “book their own hotel rooms,” as Sun is quoted as saying in this article, because they don’t develop inside a centralized government-run system that takes care of every detail of their lives. But what about life after sport? Food for thought for a sports system that has seen more than one former champion slip through the cracks of society after the gold medals were won and forgotten.

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