11.30.07

Yi adjusting to the NBA

Posted in Basketball at 3:31 pm by Nicole

A nice feature in yesterday’s Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel demonstrates how Yi Jianlian is adjusting to life in the NBA.

11.29.07

Today’s news

Posted in 2008 Olympics, Badminton, Basketball, Track and Field/Athletics, Winter Sports at 4:23 pm by Nicole

A smattering of news from around the China sports world today:

Basketball

Yi’s exit leaves Chinese hoops floundering (Reuters, via Guardian Unlimited)

2008 Olympics

Track and Field: What are the Chinese medal prospects for Beijing? (IAAF.org)

China-born Li named top US athletics coach for guiding Lagat (AFP) [Editor's note: Bernard Lagat's double gold medal in the 1500 and 5000 meter races at this year's world championships were astonishing. Lagat called James Li, his coach, a "technical genius" for planning the strategy that allowed Lagat, a naturalized Kenyan-born American, to win two hot, humid, tactical races in the pressure of a world championship event. My personal sports highlight of the year.]

Adidas taps punch-bag art, Muhammad Ali to spread Olympic fever (Bloomberg.com)

China to host convention on sport science, August 1-5, 2008 (Xinhuanet)

Badminton: China on track for Olympics despite poor results – coach (Guardian UK)

Curling (yes, curling)

Chinese curling attracts younger crowd (China Daily)

11.28.07

Hockey in China

Posted in Hockey at 3:18 pm by Nicole

Count hockey among the many, many “Western” sports trying to gain a toehold in the Chinese market:

NHL has visions of glory in lucrative China (Globe and Mail, Canada)

11.27.07

Recent BOCOG news

Posted in 2008 Olympics at 3:42 pm by Nicole

From the news wires, recent happenings at BOCOG:

BOCOG to deal with formerly suspended ticket applications (Chinaview.cn)

PC factory for Beijing 2008 becomes operational (Chinaview.cn)

BOCOG puts top ten stories of Games to a vote (China Daily)

Progress made in preparation for Beijing Paralympics (Xinhuanet)

BOCOG official meets press on cultural activities (Xinhuanet)

Volunteers trained for gymnastics events at Olympic venue (Xinhuanet)

11.26.07

More on the “meaningless” comment

Posted in 2008 Olympics, Track and Field/Athletics at 4:33 pm by Nicole

A new article from China Daily – and a really, really close re-reading of the article linked to here on Friday from Reuters – demonstrates that the Liu Xiang/achievements-meaningless-without-Beijing-gold news report may not have been based on any new information, just (perhaps – conjecture on my part) a desire to keep Liu’s name in the sports pages as he goes into seclusion for winter training.

Coach: Hurdler Liu has yet to reach full potential (China Daily)

The aforementioned article includes the full quote from Sun Haiping, Liu Xiang’s coach: “”Officials from the State General Administration of Sports once told us if Liu could not win a gold in Beijing, all of his previous achievements would become meaningless.”

Okay, that’s still a huge amount of pressure in my book. But it doesn’t sound like Liu was given a text message about the matter last week from Chinese officials – only that “once” Liu and/or Sun were told what the gold medal would mean to China.

It’s still overstating the case to suggest his past results have no meaning, no matter how or when the comment was relayed to Liu, and it’s still too much pressure for a young man who appears to have no discernable life outside of sport because he’s been put so high on a pedestal in Chinese society that he can’t do anything without attracting attention to himself. But it’s a little less sinister-feeling than when the first reports of this comment came out last week, in my opinion.

Liu Xiang’s legs

Posted in 2008 Olympics, Track and Field/Athletics at 3:33 pm by Nicole

Hurdler insures ‘priceless’ legs for $13.3 million (MSNBC.com)

U.S. vs. Russia in Davis Cup – when will China be a part of the conversation?

Posted in General, News, Tennis at 10:16 am by Nicole

Interesting blog post at the Guardian (UK) today about sporting rivalries. The Davis Cup final between Russia and the United States will be played this weekend – but how long will it be before China is considered a bona fide major sports nation, when measured by real athletic success? The piece below brings up some interesting points.

Taming of the Feuds (Guardian Unlimited, UK)

11.24.07

Pressure on Liu intensifies…but why?

Posted in 2008 Olympics, Track and Field/Athletics at 5:17 pm by Nicole

It’s always wise to wait a few days when commenting on news reports coming out of China, especially when it involves scandal or strongly-worded exhortations…Still, the news that pressure is raining down on Liu Xiang to win gold next August comes during this American Thanksgiving season with a profound sense of too much, too soon – and, honestly, unnecessary. Reuters reports that Liu has been informed that his past results – and by “results,” we’re talking an Olympic gold medal and world-record-tying performance (2004), individual world record (2006), and world championship (2007) – will be “meaningless” if he doesn’t win Olympic gold next year.

On some other page of some other Chinese newspaper, there’s surely a note or two about how determined China is to make this a “drug-free” Olympics. And again, I ask – can’t senior sports officials in China (or any major Olympic country, for that matter) see the inherent contradiction in putting unreal pressure on a young person to win, then insisting that their athletes will be drug-free? Speculation by those who know Marion Jones well has led to an understanding that she may well have chosen to dope before Sydney because she’d set herself such a gargantuan goal of five Olympic gold medals and was terrified of coming up short. Nobody but her of course knows for sure, but it seems clear that negating all of the past results of an extraordinary athlete like Liu and putting this huge pressure on him to succeed makes the Olympics feel less like a celebration and more like a firing squad.

Liu is a good person and an excellent athlete who is a joy to watch. He shouldn’t be put through this kind of meaningless pressure. For him and for all of the athletes in China and around the world who are preparing to compete, the Olympics should be about the best of competition – not the worst of pressure for meaningless national bragging rights.

11.22.07

World Cup of Golf in Shenzhen

Posted in Golf at 11:42 am by Nicole

Weekley, Slocum give U.S. surprise lead at World Cup of Golf (ESPN.com)

11.16.07

More on Olympic advertisers

Posted in 2008 Olympics, Sports Business at 12:48 pm by Nicole

From USA Today:

U.S. companies carry a torch for Olympics

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