The far northeastern province of Heilongjiang came into China’s National Games with 43 medals already in the bank. Yes, you read that right. 17 gold medals were “won” before the official start of the Games, and only one of those was due to an event being scheduled ahead of the opening ceremony. That’s because some bright spark had the idea of converting medals from previous events into medals that actually count at the National Games:
I’ve written before about Chinese telecoms company Huawei using sports and entertainment to combat the atrocious PR it tends to get around the world. That trend is continuing, but the company now appears to be spurning the US and focusing more on Europe.
After winning nine of the ten diving golds on offer at the FINA World Championships, there have been very mixed fortunes for China so far in the swimming pool.
A brief departure from China for this week’s Sports Talk column to discuss one of the best – and most unusual – sport stories of the year: the non-Fellowship of the Ring. It turns out this story made news at the time eight years ago, with media asking back then if it Putin had stolen it. Kraft stuck to the script, but, eight years later, is apparently fed up and wants the ring back. Putin has since insisted through a spokesman it had always been a gift. It’s hardly a case for the ICC, but it will be interesting to see if there are any further developments. Here’s the piece:
It’s been a good week for unexpected sports stories.
Here’s my Sports Talk column from today’s Global Times on Oscar Pistorius’ fall from grace:
When Oscar Pistorius came to Beijing for the 2008 Paralympic Games, he was already something of a celebrity. As a 17-year-old, he had won Paralympic gold in Athens four years earlier, and though he had failed in his bid to run at the Beijing Olympic Games against able-bodied athletes, he didn’t disappoint at the Paralympic Games, winning three gold medals and running record times in each event.
Speaking to him on the track immediately after his third win, I remember a humble young man breathless with excitement, and quick to credit others for his success. He told me his dream had been realized. But that dream has turned to a nightmare.
Wrestling has been in the Olympics for more than 2,600 years but looks almost certain to be axed from 2020 onwards after the Executive Board of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) recommended that wrestling no longer be included in the list of core sports. It has a final chance to save itself, but only one of baseball/softball, karate, roller sports, sport climbing, squash, wakeboarding, wushu and now wrestling will be chosen for inclusion when the Committee meets again in May.
So who loses out and who will likely gain from this?
The IOC says it’s looking for a new sponsor after Taiwanese computer company Acer pulled out as a member of the TOP Olympic sponsorship programme. Asus or Lenovo, anyone?
Gerhard Heiberg, the head of the IOC’s marketing team, said Acer would not necessarily be replaced by another computer company, but you have to think the most obvious replacements are like-for-like ones, with Lenovo and Acer also ticking the Asian box left empty by Acer’s departure.
One reason why that may not happen, though, is a fear of sponsorship overlap, with other companies encroaching on the “computer” category, something that Heiberg added may lead to changes as a result.
12 years after China’s Olympic coming out party, Tokyo is aiming to be the next Asian city to host a Summer Olympics as one of three candidate cities for 2020. And the signs are looking good.
On September 7 in Buenos Aires, IOC President Jacques Rogge will declare victory for one of Tokyo, Istanbul and Madrid, and, if the bookmakers are to be believed, Tokyo is the favorite, noticeably ahead of Istanbul and significantly ahead of Madrid.