Thoughtful China has a very interesting video discussion lately on action sports and sports participation in China that really worth checking out.
In the video, Harvey Davis, vice president at ESPN’s Events Management Group, reckons that "these [action] sports are now recognized in China as real sports, with real committees and real organizations reporting up to the top government organizations in Beijing" and concluded that as "one of the biggest things for the growth of sport in China." With that comes, as in the case of Shanghainese BMX rider Shen Jian and his friends, a clash of interest between government organization and athletes/brands.
At the beginning of April, a month ahead of ESPN's 2011 X Games Asia in Shanghai, Shen Jian (申剑), arguebly China’s best BMX rider, was worried about his eligibility for the Games.
Born in 1988 along the Yangtze River, Shen grew his interest in bicycles since middle school and began practicing BMX when he was 16. With hard training and perseverance, it only took him less than a year to get the Street BMX Champion in Huzhou, Zhejiang, one of the top trophies in BMX in the country. Shen then flourished in competitions in the coming years and, in 2008, Nike came to him to sponsor gears and outfits.
Apparently Mellow Parks Construction — China’s experts for all things snowboarding — never bothered to check the calendar when they released its Magnum opus Nov. 14. For the snowboarding community both in China and around the world, the New Year comes six weeks early with the release of “Happy Niu Year,” a film documenting some of the most exciting riding in the People’s Republic to date.
“It is helping to put China on the map as far as the world snowboarding community is concerned,” said Olli Fenwick-Ross, marketing director for Mellow Parks. “People know the Nanshan Open now, but they don’t know what else is happening here. This film is reaching a broader audience, to show there are good snowboarders here in China.”
This year the event will showcase more than 200 of the best action sports athletes from more than 20 countries in world-class competition in the sports of Skateboard, BMX, In-Line Skate and Sport Climbing. New to the Asian X Games, this year's event will also feature a Moto X Big Air demonstration. Televised live from Shanghai's KIC Jiangwan Stadium, X Games Asia will air May 1 - May 3 on ESPN Asia networks and will be organized by sports broadcaster ESPN STAR Sports along with the Shanghai Media Group and Shanghai Sports Federation. The event will also be shown on ESPN International networks in Latin America, Australia, Middle East and Africa.
Well, we’d like to take the blame for a little miscategorization this time. It seems young Chinese traceurs have discovered a new cool place to practice their skills – right inside their dorms. (h/t Youku Buzz)
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“Snowboarding in China is never going to be the way it is in Europe or the United States,” says Steve Zdarsky, the man who runs Mellow Constructions in China. “Every year I say snowboarding is going to take off, but not too many kids start this sport every year. China is more like Russia, where only the wealthy can afford to do a sport like this.”
There is a hint of bitterness in Zdarsky’s voice despite the optimism he and the others who run the Quiksilver Nanshan Mellow Park, a ski resort about 40 minutes north of Beijing, have for snowboarding in the People’s Republic.
SMP launched its 138,000 sq ft SMP Skatepark in October 2005, making it the biggest skatepark in the world by almost double. Located in Shanghai China, the park boasts the biggest vert ramp in the world, the biggest concrete bowl in the world, a 5000 - 7000 seat arena, plaza and beginners areas.