The glut of “China isn’t at the World Cup, but…” articles has slowed (there is only so much to say, after all), though these pictures of President Xi Jinping are doing the rounds (h/t @niubi), unthinkable to depict the President in cartoon form just a few years ago.
May was a busy month.
The most important Russian to China right now is not Vladimir Putin, but it’s a man who knows him very well: Alexander Zhukov. That’s because he has just been appointed head of the evaluation commission for the 2022 Winter Games. In other words, he is leading the team that will select the host city.
Coming into the 2014 Paralympic Games, China had amassed an impressive 326 gold, 259 silver, and 198 bronze medals 1984-2012, but all 783 of them had come in the Summer Games. The best result at a Winter Games had been a fifth place finish by Peng Yuanyuan in the women’s 5km cross-country classic style standing in Vancouver four years ago.
Here, belatedly, is one of my appearances on BBC World during the Sochi Olympics, talking to presenter Sarah Stone live via Skype. The first part is a little outdated as it talks about China’s medals and prospects (at that time), but the section from 1:38 on Beijing’s bid for the 2022 Olympic Games is still relevant.
Here are a few things we’ve been reading on China’s Olympic progress:
The BBC’s Martin Patience makes the good point that Zhangjiakou doesn’t have a hill large enough to host the downhill were China to win the 2022 Olympics. Fake snow? Check. Clear the skies? No problem. Bigger hill? Hmmm….
With several high prominent western leaders boycotting the Sochi Olympics, it was of even more importance to Russia and the IOC that Chinese President Xi Jinping attended the opening ceremony. In an official press release about the first ever IOC President’s dinner, Xi was mentioned in the same breath as Russian President Vladimir Putin, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and Karolos Papoulias, President of Greece (home of the Olympics). All other attendees were listed further down the release, showing the importance of Xi’s presence.
As expected, Sunday February 9 provided little in the way of Chinese cheer: in cross-country, Xu Wenlong finished 59th (out of 68) in the men’s skiathlon,
while biathletes Zhang Yan, Tang Jialin, Song Chaoqing and Song Na finished 49th, 55th, 63rd and 83rd (out of 84) respectively. Song Na missed a team-high four targets in total, and, at 18, clearly hasn’t realized that if you’re going to have rock star hairstyle, you’d better be ready to play in the big leagues.