While David Cameron promised to turn Olympic into gold for the British, the Chinese athletes vowed to bring back gold. Unlike Mr. Cameron who keeps surprising his tax payer with increasing Olympic budget, the Chinese athletes keep their words, at great expenses.
The Chinese take Olympic medals seriously. Ever since the Chinese Olympic Team consists of 621 athletes and coaches arrived in London, predictions of who would win how many gold medals occupied Chinese media. Most websites have put forward the ranking of countries according to the number of gold medal obtained by their athletes, and Chinese people want to see their country on top, therefore paramount pressure is put on the athletes. Medal-winners are loved all the entire country, their family members are invited to dinner parties with the local authority, during which they are crowned as the “mother/ father of national hero”.
By contrast are those who fail to win the medal. On July the 29th, Chinese athlete Wu Jingbiao had an emotional breakdown after he failed to win a gold medal in the man 56 kg weightlifting. In front of the TV camera he cried like a girl, bowing to apologize while saying that he has “failed the state” even though he did win a silver medal(See video below). Li Na, a Chinese tennis player, was condemned by the Xinhua News, a state news agency, for being “sluggish”, “lack of passion” and “unprofessional” after losing to Slovakia`s Daniela Hantuchova. Subsequent commentaries online criticized her of being arrogant , some even related her lost to treason.
video: Chinese Athlete’s emotional breakdown after game
The cost of losing a game is dear, and the cost of winning is even higher. Wu Min Xia, China’s world champion was only to find out that her mother had got cancer for eight years, and her grandparents had both died a few years ago after she has won the women’s synchronised 3m springboard gold at the Aquatics Centre. When being interviewed, the mother, who looked weary and freakish because of the chemotherapy, proudly told the press that she had kept the news from her daughter for the fear that she might be distracted from training.
There is more evidence to show that Olympic has been nationalised into the fuel of patriotic sentiment. Young talents are forced to specialise at very early age, many athletes were used to be pumped with steroids. Many of the world champions were having a hard life after retirement, because they were deprived of normal education for so long. But none of these matters concern the government who needs the Olympic gold-medal-ranking to cheer up the crowds, distracting them from series of domestic and international problems. Their tactics are working this time.