May was a busy month.
Roads & Kingdoms has an excellent long-form piece by Gabrielle Jaffe profiling the fans of Chinese Super League team Beijing Guoan, exploring the history of the beautiful game in China and delving into the culture of supporter groups around the country.
For those unfamiliar with the capital’s sole CSL team, Beijing Guoan’s crowds last season would rank them eighth in the current list of English Premier League average attendances – above Everton, Spurs and West Ham.
There are lots of highlights, including this:
Formula 1 is a state of flux right now. Aside from all the massive rule changes for this season, Ferrari boss Stefano Domenicali quit this week, there’s due to be a new US-based team from 2015 and three of the existing teams are reported to be meeting in Shanghai on Thursday to discuss how to make their engines louder, after those new regulations sucked some of the noise out of the sport.
But the one constant that remains is China’s antipathy to Grand Prix racing. The race at the Shanghai International Circuit on Sunday will be the 11th consecutive Chinese Grand Prix held there, with current or former world champions winning eight out of the previous 10 races. But after the initial buzz, reality set in.
Here are some of the problems:
Paralympic action starts today in Sochi with China’s 10-strong contingent looking to claim the country’s first ever Winter Paralympic medal. Five of the 10 form the curling team, which finished third at the World Championships in both 2012 and 2013, so a medal is a definite possibility. The other five are cross-country skiers: no red hot favorites, but results have been improving and a podium finish is not out of the question.
Be careful what you believe about the NBA in China.
Firstly, reports – by which, of course, I mean parroted press releases – out over the last few days suggest that LeTV is now the main broadcaster of NBA games in China.
Day 4 review
Tuesday February 11 was a solid – but ultimately disappointing – day for China. Speed skater Zhang Hong (pictured left) pulled out the performance of the day in the first run of the women’s 2 x 500 m. Her time of 37.58 was a new track record at the time, though two competitors later went faster, placing Zhang in bronze medal position at the half way point. Her second race was considerably slower at 37.99 for a 4th place finish – 0.1 seconds out of bronze – but she’ll have another chance in the 1,000 m.