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.
This is the 2nd part of the post on 2011 Kia X Games Asia. Read the 1st part here.
“It is what it is. I’m going back to play for a while, just to take it in.” Shen Jian squeezed a smile at me and then walked back onto the stage. Only less than 10 minutes left for him to “play.”
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.
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.