China's athletes just work harder, says former British swim coach
A British swimming coach has weighed in on how China’s athletes are raised and trained, saying that Chinese athletes are just highly dedicated to their sports.
In a piece yesterday in the Guardian, the coach (who is not named buy who the Guardian says has been verified) responds to what s/he says are inaccurate comments about how China’s athletes.
I am certainly not aware of any talent ID programme – I am coaching five swimmers on this Olympic team and three of them I selected myself when they were 13 years old. No one "advised" or told me who to select – I just used my experience and "trained eye" to spot the guys I thought would be good.
China's athletes have faced a great deal of scrutiny during the Olympics. When 16-year-old swimmer Ye Shiwen smashed the world record in the 400m medley event, for example, speculation about doping quickly followed, and has been strongly denied by Olympic officials.
A story in the Daily Mail also helped stir the pot, as it claimed Chinese athletes were effectively taken away from their parents at a very young age and forced to train in prison-like conditions.
Children who our own sports authorities would deem far too young even to countenance focusing seriously on one sport, let alone be taken away from their parents and billeted in these boot-camps, had been driven so hard that they wept, and one claimed to have been beaten by his coach.
The International Olympic Committee promised then to investigate his claims but seven years on there is no evidence that anything has remotely changed.
Only last January harrowing photographs were posted on the internet showing Chinese children crying in pain as they were put to work.
But according to a recent story in the Wall Street Journal, China's fortunes have been fading since the Beijing Games and are likely to continue doing so.
Top Chinese sports officials aren’t boasting about their medal chances in London, declining interviews with The Wall Street Journal and playing down expectations in the state-controlled domestic media. ...
Another big factor at work: China’s changing population has more economic options these days—and the state’s rigorous Olympic training doesn’t look as appealing as it used to.
The controversy around badminton teams, includling China's top team, supposedly throwing matches is unlikely to quell the rumours and comments about the Chinese team.
As of around noon Wednesday, China was leading all countries with 14 gold medals (25 in total). The U.S. is hot on their heels with 10 golds (26 total). We'll see whether the WSJ is on to something.