Archive for March 17, 2010

Its Sports Empire Crumbling, Russia Scrambles

May the best athletes win?

The Northern Bears bemoan their lose in Vancouver, and worrying they may lose again in their own backyard in 2014. Buddy, you’ve got a long way to go now.

Coming from China, I feel the playing fields at Olympics aren’t being leveled: free reeling western world vs state subsides in the commies. Athletes in China doing nothing but honing their skills, 24/7 while Americans, most of them, have to wait tables to make ends meet, before they could practice what they love to do. Their varied lives provide colorful commentating during the game. I’m happy to see USA won the most medals and China came in 8th.

Should Olympics allow professional to compete? For example tennis. I feel Federer and Williams have 4 grand opportunities to shine every year if they choose to participate, shouldn’t the Olympics gives it opportunity to the amature and let them shine once every four years? … hmmmm then we’ll have to watch sub par performance.
Tough call.
That goes with basketball, ice hockey, etc.
The USA’s win over Russia in 1980 was such an epic moment, that ought to go down history – Miracle On Ice – as the moment, given the historical undertone at the time. Mind you, although that was only the semis but in everyone’s eye, it was the final. Same goes with Bobby Fischer’s win over Boris Spassky .. a lone man defeated an entire team .. oh, got carried away, chess isn’t an Olympic sport. Russia would have loved that idea, back then ..

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China sports official skewered for criticizing skater who didn’t thank government after win

By ANITA CHANG, Associated Press

Last update: March 10, 2010 – 8:04 PM

BEIJING – It was a political gaffe for Chinese short track speedskater Zhou Yang — failing to thank her country and its government after winning two gold medals at the Vancouver Olympics.

But the 18-year-old is winning widespread support for her honesty and naivete, after being criticized by a top sports official this week for mentioning her parents in a post-win interview but failing to express gratitude for the Chinese sports system.

“How can somebody love their country if they don’t even love their parents?” China Youth Daily reporter Ma Jing wrote in an opinion piece published Tuesday, echoing the many online comments supporting Zhou in a case that is currently one of the hottest topics on Chinese internet sites.

Zhou won gold in the 1,500-meter race and the 3,000-meter relay in her Olympic debut. After her 1,500 win Feb. 20, a breathless Zhou told China Central Television: “It’s my dream. After winning the gold I might change a lot, become more confident and help my parents have a better life.”

She thanked her coach and teammates, but never mentioned the state-run sports system in which she had trained as an athlete for much of her life.

“It’s right to respect and thank your parents but you also have to have the country in your heart. The country must come first. Don’t just talk about your parents,” said Yu Zaiqing, deputy director of China’s General Administration of Sport, in widely reported comments earlier this week.

Yu, who is also an International Olympic Committee vice president, added that the sports system must step up “moral education” for athletes.

He’s been criticized in comments on countless Web sites, where many Chinese who are normally reticent to voice their opinions speak freely because of the anonymity found online. His entry on Baidu Baike, a site similar to Wikipedia, was temporarily changed to say “Yu Zaiqing, male … no mother and no father, raised by the Communist Party.”

Zhou’s family has defended her behavior, saying she is a young woman unfamiliar with the political demands facing Chinese athletes.

“Of course she’s naive! If she’s not naive why would she say something like that?” said Zhou’s aunt, surnamed Wang, who refused to give her name as is common among media-shy Chinese.

“Zhou Yang is very introverted, her life is eating, sleeping and training,” Wang told The Associated Press. “Of course her parents have sacrificed a lot, too.”

Yu’s remarks underscore the ties binding sports to politics in China, where youngsters picked for their athletic abilities and specific physical traits undergo years of grueling training, with the singular goal of “winning glory for the country.”

But Zhou appeared to be more concerned about her parents’ welfare than her country, a move that has struck a chord among Chinese whose deeply ingrained Confucian heritage highly values respect for elders.

“For a girl who has a humble wish to let her parents live a comfortable life, she was heroic in her struggle to win these two gold medals for China but then encountered such criticism,” wrote sports columnist Sa Fu of Chinese internet portal “This is the real humiliation for the country.”

Like many Chinese athletes, Zhou comes from a poor background. While parents hope their children can win Olympic medals and therefore financial awards, the payoff comes at a huge price. Before her two golds in Vancouver, Zhou was helping to support her disabled parents with her 500 yuan ($73) a month stipend.

She can now expect more than 1 million yuan ($150,000) in prize money to go with the new two-bedroom apartment that’s already been awarded to her parents in their hometown of Changchun in northeast China.

On Tuesday, officials tried to deflect criticism of Yu, who made his comments Sunday during a sports committee meeting of China’s top legislative advisory body. A fellow committee member said the group was discussing athletes in general and not Zhou specifically.

China’s General Administration of Sport did not respond to a faxed request for comment Tuesday.

And Zhou appeared to have learned her lesson in Chinese political correctness. Several Web sites on Tuesday carried comments attributed to the skater, in which she gave thanks to all the right people.

“I thank the country for providing us with excellent conditions, for giving us the excellent conditions for our Olympic campaign,” she was quoted as saying. “And I thank everyone who supported us, I thank our coaches, I thank the staff, and I thank my mom and dad.”


Associated Press researcher Xi Yue contributed to this report.

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Some stats ..

This tabulation is based on the results of top four teams in Queens and Manhattan – 2010 Mixed Doubles Leagues Adults 7.0.


Although team Hockett had the best stats in Manhattan group during the regular season but they lost in the first round to Kim/Seto 1:2. Team Regione performed well in the playoffs, sweeping their way to win the Area championship: handed team Abdolai a bagel on Feb 27 and Kim/Seto an egg on Feb 28.

It all comes down to the moment, one point at time.


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