So….how’s China nabbing all the golds? It’s what the world wants to know. First of all, Chinese are hard-core athletes. Second, China has what you would call a lot of people. I mean, out of 1,344,130,000, I would expect at least 40 to be gold medalists. Sure, great athletes are few and far between, but if you can’t even train 0.00003% of the population to be good as gold, you may want to rethink your strategy. Thirdly, China has a badass training program for talented young athletes. Actually, badass is an understatement– if you’re considered to be a child prodigy in a particular sport, you’ll be taken out of the regular academic curriculum as early as elementary school and placed in a special athletic development school with professional coaches to train you in that sport. Oh, and as a nice perk, the Chinese government will pick up the bill. Not surprisingly, many of the Chinese athletes you see on screen come from extremely poor villages in rural China. If the talent is there, many rural families will choose to prime their child for athletic competition in order to receive financial support from the state.
No matter where you are in China today, making a decent living is difficult even if a prestigious diploma happens to hang in your office. Buying a car, much less a house, for example, is still only a dream for many. The Olympics offers a way out for some. Consider the following from an article posted on china.org.cn a few days ago (and be sure to scroll to the end!):
“China rewards athletes who won the first gold medals at Olympic Games”:
Shooter Xu Haifeng got a national reward of 12,000 yuan at the 23rd Olympic Games in Los Angeles in 1984.
Diver Xu Yanmei got a national reward of 15,000 yuan at the 24th Olympic Games in Seoul in 1988.
Swimmer Zhuang Yong got a national reward of 80,000 yuan at the 25th Olympic Games in Barcelona in 1992.
Judo player Sun Fuming got a national reward of 80,000 yuan at the 26th Olympic Games in Atlanta in 1996.
Shooter Tao Luna received a national reward and various other rewards, amounting to a total worth of 2 million yuan , and in addition was assigned an apartment worth one million yuan after the 27th Olympic Games in Sydney in 2000.
Weight Lifter Chen Xiexia got a national reward of 350,000 yuan,received an additional 700,000 yuan from Guangdong province and another 160,000 yuan from the town government. In addition, Chen received various other rewards amounting to a total worth of 5 million yuan plus an Audi Q7. All this was presented to Chen after winning gold at the 29th Olympic Games in Beijing in 2008.
Following the London Olympics, shooter Yi Siling will receive a national reward of 500,000 yuan (US$78,436), an additional 800,000 yuan and an apartment from Guangdong Province, another 800,000 yuan from Zhuhai City and various other rewards worth a total of 4 million yuan. Yi shall also become the proud owner of a luxury car, an Audi A6L 30 FSI, worth 750,000 yuan provided by the FAW – Audi Sales Division.