Do Olympic gold medals have a stigma attached to them? Does the Chinese public no longer cherish hard-won Olympic medals? The answers are no. And even as domestic media is abuzz with criticism of the "national sports system," few believe it should be scrapped immediately.
It is true that this Olympic Games has been viewed from a variety of perspectives by domestic audiences. Some hold that the funds invested in athletes' training and preparation should be used for public welfare. Some worry that China's dominance over several events may reduce the popularity of the sports. When Chinese badminton duo players Yu Yang and Wang Xiaoli were disqualified, opinions toward the IOC's decision were polarized.
There is indeed opposition against excessive worship of gold medals. But such voices don't dominate public opinion. Just look at the public's reaction to Sun Yang's two gold medals in swimming, which caused a sensation. After swimmer Ye Shiwen was questioned over her speed, there was a strong backlash against the unfounded allegations. For Chinese media, the existence of both views is natural. The Internet, especially Weibo, has amplified a few extreme voices. The media, faced with cut-throat competition, may highlight sensational viewpoints or stress conflict to grab attention. But among TV audiences, few are against seeing Chinese athletes winning gold medals. The negative comments about Olympic gold medals don't stand for the majority, nor do they suggest a drop in Chinese patriotism.
The London Olympic Games has resulted in new happiness and confidence for Chinese society. Four years ago, the Chinese delegation topped the gold medal tally on home soil. This time, Chinese athletes continue to win glory overseas. The Chinese public is surer about the country's capabilities. No matter what the critics say, sporting achievements attest to the country's progress.
Patriotism cannot be denied. It is not denied in any country. It is one of the core values of China, helping sustain its civilization for thousands of years. Patriotic feeling is strong and authoritative. A few try to win attention by condemning patriotism. As long as China has an open public opinion platform, such voices are bound to exist.
Liberal tendencies are strong in China's public opinion sphere. Extreme voices often cross the bottom line. We can just check people around us. Are there many people who would like to see Sun Yang or Liu Xiang lose? Are they in the majority? The answer is clear. We don't have to care too much about a few grudge Internet posts.