Hidden Harmonies China Blog
As China Re-Awakens, Finding New Harmonies in a Brave New World...
August 3, 2012 by YinYang 3 Comments
August 5, 2012 at 8:31 pm
I like Qiao Liang. He’s a great coach. It’s amazing that gymnasts (Johnson and Douglas) have done so well under his guidance. It’s also great that his gymnasts have been chosen for the Olympics in a meritocracy, where the best athletes are chosen for the Olympic team.
In China, some excellent athletes are not chosen for the Olympic team because the selection process can be quite confusing sometimes.
August 5, 2012 at 11:00 pm
“It’s also great that his gymnasts have been chosen for the Olympics in a meritocracy, where the best athletes are chosen for the Olympic team.”
An exaggerated and ill-informed statement. Most people do not consider American Olympic dopers like Marion Jones and Antonio Pettigrew the “best”. And if dopers are chosen to be the “best’, America’s not much of a meritocracy.
As for your article, it’s from the Hopewell Journal, whose legitimacy is questionable, especially since it does not reveal anything much in its website about its origins, save a generic email address and a smug proclamation that it can help people in “understanding China”.
Let’s look at the article. Wang Mingjuan won gold. The athlete who was chosen delivered. This shows the selection system works in China. And what does the title say? “Mysterious Chinese Olympic Athlete Selections Baffle Athletes and Outsiders Alike” Nice spin.
Who are the “Outsiders”? In the story, they are the parents of Tian Yuan, the parents of a previous gold-winner as well as very vague, very anonymous people, such as the “people” in:
“People familiar with the selection process explained the rationale behind the selection process. It was felt that both Wang and Tian could easily win a gold medal for China in the 48-kg class, and Wang was chosen as a result of political maneuvering and balancing among Hunan, Hubei and the central sporting authorities.”
So who the heck are these people, people who merely think they know the selection process or real people from the selection committee? Or just random users from internet forums? We don’t get a clue neither do we get quotes from someone real. And therefore the entire revelation is unreliable.
The crux of the story is that Tian Yuan’s sports administration believe her to be recuperating from an injury, while she doesn’t believe she is hurting. And since Wang is chosen instead of her, she and her parents are not exactly happy.
It is reported that Tian’s parents “pointed out that Wang was not chosen for the 2004 Olympic team due to non-performance based factors”. If so, what the heck are these non-performance based factors? Spell them out. Don’t leave us hanging. Sloppy reporting.
Tian’s parents believe that their daughter might have broken the world record, but they’re their daughters ‘ parents; and even though that’s a possible scenario, it exists as a possible one for Wang too.
What’s interesting is Tian’s parents actually went to watch Wang compete, and they even “expressed admiration for her perseverance”. This shows that they believe Wang has a heart of a true champion.
This report is operating on the view that Tian’s testimony is invariably more trust-worthy than China’s sports administration and leans on it. It is not objective. A coach’s selection can be based on “non-performance” based factors such as attitude. That is why many famous footballers may not be recalled into the national Olympics football team. Plus, if Tian is really injured and she doesn’t mind her injury, it is still correct for the Chinese administration to select somebody fitter and fresher. This is a meritocratic practice.
Now let me show you a gem I’ve obtained from the Hopewell Journal, that demonstrates it’s not averse to bashing China:
From an article entitled “Olympic Badminton Players Disqualified for Deliberate Poor Play”
Okay, the headline states a fact. Then, we see the final paragraph.
“Chinese athletes usually do not go against their coaches’ directives, and in this case, both Yu and Wang are also victims of the Chinese tradition of placing a team’s interests over those of the individual players.”
Actually in this case, both Yu and Wang are victims of double standards as practiced by the Olympic committee. Just think of Britain’s cycling team who won gold because of “deliberate poor play”.
I rest my case. The Hopewell Journal is an unreliable rag, east2west is throwing us red herrings and is a sleeper troll.
August 6, 2012 at 1:22 am
East2West, you state:
‘In China, some excellent athletes are not chosen for the Olympic team because the selection process can be quite confusing sometimes.’
This statement doesn’t make sense. Perhaps if you replaced ‘because’ with ‘and’ it would make more sense.
Furthermore, ‘some excellent athletes are not chosen’ would be applicable to a lot of olympic teams, because many countries have lots of excellent athletes. From this pool of excellent athletes, the coaches have to choose the athletes which they think will perform the best on the day.
I don’t know anything about weightlifting, so I would definately find the selection process of any nation’s weightlifting team confusing. There might be people who question the selection of athletes, but you’ll find this with any sport (just look at how often commentators do this in sports such as football, baseball and basketball).
Finally, the number of medals that China has got so far is testament to the ability of the coaches to select the best athletes.
Now, back to the topic of this thread. It’s great to see sports like gymnastics bringing people from all around the world together. Qiao must be an excellent coach because Gabby has already picked up a couple of gold medals. I haven’t seen her compete yet, but I’ll try and catch it later.
If you’ve got a minute, there is an interesting article on Xinhua about coaches and athletes originally from China now competing and training around the world:
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