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Top 10 Chinese Sports News in 2008

The year of 2008 is by all means an extraordinary year for Chinese sports, not merely because the country’s performance in the Beijing Olympics, there’re actually so much more interesting things beyond that if we comb back closely, either about its sports administration and regime, or some government policies that may shape the sector in the future. 

1. Juguo Rules the Games 

51 golds, 21 silvers and 28 bronzes, a total 100 medals. China for the first time surpassed the US in the number of golds won most golds in an Olympic Games by sticking to its juguo or whole-nation sports regime. People at the General Administration of Sport of China, the governing body of China’s sports, had since been discussing about proliferating their successful juguo model into a more popular sport, football.

2. Lin Miaoke, Blackout and the Opening Ceremony

The opening ceremony of the Beijing Olympic Games will be long remembered not only by its pyrotechnics and drum show, but also a girl named Lin Miaoke, who lip-synced when singing ‘Ode to the Motherland.’  “The reason was for the national interest,” said Chen Qigang, the musical director of the opening ceremony in a radio interview. Chen added that the decision of doing lip-syncing was made at the highest level. It goes without saying that whoever knew about this decision before the ceremony were cool about it, even the parents of Lin Miaoke and Yang Peiyi, the real singer, for whatever reasons that I can’t understand.

Chen’s so-called ‘national interest’ did scare me, along with the blackout struck our community in Beijing on August 8, 15 minutes after the show began. I saw my neighbors helplessly talking to one other in the alley and guiltily drove to my friend’s. No one told us we were to have a blackout, and no one even came to us to explain what had happened after August 8. A Caijing article later showed that at least 15 pathetic residential communities in Chaoyang District had blackout that night, together contributing to the ‘national interest’ unknowingly. The lip-syncing girl at least had a shot of rejecting doing good to the ‘national interest,’ we didn’t. And that’s only in Beijing, the capital city.

3. Age Of Chinese Women Gymnasts Questioned

Chinese women gymnasts, He Kexin and Jiang Yuyuan, were questioned about their ages after winning golds at the Games. It all began with Stryde’s hack of Chinese websites. All evidence disappeared, ID cards and passports provided. Sorry American girls, you did really well in the games but Chinese did better, if not in the indoor stadium.

4. Yi Jianlian and CBA Age Scandals

Ages of 22 CBA players were found to have been changed their ages before the new season in the new yearbook issued by CBA, the governing body of Chinese basketball. The association then told media that there’re actually 26 players changed their ages, submitting all the info to FIBA and acting like they had no idea about the situation before. Early this December, a reporter at the Chinese-language version of Sports Illustrated found evidence suggesting that Yi Jianlian, New Jersey Nets forward, is 3 years older than he claimed to be.

5. Horse Gambling in Wuhan

Some 3 million jobs and 100 billion Chinese yuan annual sales sound so enticing that gambling, after nearly 60-year ban in China, reappeared in a different form of packaging. And looks like it will be welcomed even more by the government under the current economic circumstances.

6. China Bowl Canceled by NFL Again

From Hongda’s withdrawal from Formula One to MLB and NFL’s job cuts, sports industry was so much struck by the slumping economy this winter. China bowl was once again canceled by NFL and New England Patriots closed its office in Beijing.

7. Li Ning Lit the Olympic Flame

Li Ning’s lighting of the Olympic cauldron at the closing ceremony is no doubt the biggest ambush marketing in Olympic history. Although not an official Olympic sponsor, the Chinese sportswear manufacturer must have sold more sneakers thanks to the incomparable publicity it enjoyed at the ceremony. Li Ning penned a contract with Los Angeles Clippers’ Baron Davis this November, a branding move that can be translated as ‘we don’t care much about the North American market.’

8. Fenglu Club Vs. CBA

It’s sad after so much preparation and promises and Fenglu still hadn’t gotten what they wanted, a seat at Chinese Basketball Association, China’s top basketball league. “Geographical balance” might be the weirdest explanation one can ever think of, and unfortunately that’s all CBA could offer for the club.

9. Liu Xiang’s Last Minute Withdrawal

For millions of Chinese fans, Liu Xiang is simply a source of national pride, the same complex Chinese people had towards China women’s national volleyball team in the 1980s, after claiming five straight major titles. Liu’s last minute withdrawal at the Beijing Games were widely sympathized by fans except for the anger from the scalpers. Liu, 110-meter hurdler, had been covered almost everyday by Chinese media after winning gold in 2004 Athens Olympics. Some said he was hurt not by injury, but the overzealous Chinese media.

10. Chinese Football Out for 2010 World Cup

Chinese football fans could not be downhearted more this year. The national men’s football team was eliminated in the 2010 World Cup Qualifiers this June and lost whatever match they could lose in the rest of the year. Yesterday on December 30, Wei Shaohui, the manager of the men’s team and an official at Chinese Football Association, apologized in a press conference for the poor performance of the team with his theory about potency, “we’ll be potent again when the performance gets better.”


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6 Comments Post a comment
  1. ausie #

    Sydney Symphony faked too on the 2000 Olympics, on a grander scale. Was it ever a big news?

    January 2, 2009
  2. puzzle #

    The real news about the Lin Miaoke incident is that China disclosed it voluntarily the next day, which is really puzzling. You wouldn’t expect a thief, for example, to steal something and then openly talk about it. The second act defeats the whole purpose of the first act.

    January 2, 2009
  3. puzzle #

    The Sydney Symphany also faked a big part of their performance in the 2000 Olympics, but they admitted 8 years after it happened, when no one seems to care about it anymore.

    January 2, 2009
  4. Dak #

    What’s with your pronouns?? ‘China’ is not an entity, it was the music director that disclosed it.

    January 2, 2009
  5. 'Zilla #

    Despite China’s accumulation of gold medals during the Games, I find it funny that most gloss over the fact that the Chinese introduced Project 119 — the number of gold medals that could be picked up for swimming, rowing and track and field — for the Games. Total number of golds in those events: 3. So much for getting past traditional sports such as ping pong and diving.

    January 2, 2009

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