Beijing was better: survey

By Liu Linlin Source:Global Times Published: 2012-8-14 1:20:03

Two athletes hug during the athletes parade at the closing ceremony of the 2012 London Olympic Games in London on Sunday. Rio de Janeiro will host the 2016 Olympic Games. Photo: AFP
Two athletes hug during the athletes parade at the closing ceremony of the 2012 London Olympic Games in London on Sunday. Rio de Janeiro will host the 2016 Olympic Games. Photo: AFP

Although the opening of the London Olympics wowed many Chinese viewers who marveled at the creative human touch and partying spirit, a Global Times poll at the end of the London event showed the majority still favored the Beijing Olympics, apparently enraged at the way some Chinese athletes were treated during the Games.

Over 67 percent of respondents said the overall impression of the London Games couldn't compete with the Games held four years ago in Beijing, according to a survey conducted by the Global Poll Center released on Monday.

While criticism over China's so-called State-run competitive sports system soared during the London event, the poll showed that over 84 percent of Chinese still believed that amassing gold medals is a sign of the progress of national power.

The survey was based on replies from more than 1,700 random respondents from 15 municipalities and provinces across China from August 8 to 13.

The dislike of the London Games was emphasized when a few promising gymnasts unexpectedly failed to win gold medals, the Chinese women's bicycle team was disqualified after coming in first and Ye Shiwen, a 16-year-old swimming world record breaker, was accused of doping.

Over 85 percent of respondents said that the London Games was clearly prejudiced against some Chinese athletes, according to the poll.

Shi Yinhong, a professor at the School of International Studies with Renmin University of China, told the Global Times that the Games provide a good opportunity for people to cheer for their country and feel proud, but Chinese should also treat the judgments rationally and learn from the experiences of other athletes.

After harvesting 51 gold medals four years ago in Beijing, China amassed 38 gold medals in London to reaffirm its status as a sporting superpower, though it finished behind the US, which claimed 46 gold.

Though China gave its best performance at an overseas Games, delegation chief Liu Peng didn't avoid addressing problems and said the team had a lot of work to do before the 2016 Rio Games, according to Xinhua.

Liu said other countries were catching up to China in sports like table tennis, badminton, diving, gymnastics and weightlifting, while the Chinese were not making enough progress in other sports.

"The 2012 London Olympic Games witnessed the best overseas record of a Chinese delegation mainly by the standard of the number of gold medals," said Ren Hai, professor at Beijing Sport University.

"But the most important thing we learn from the London Games is the public's opinions toward gold medals have shifted and the public care more about athletes well-being rather than just winning competitions," Ren said.

This was highlighted when it was revealed that diving gold medalist Wu Minxia was not told of her grandparents' deaths or her mother's battle with cancer, fearing it would distract her from training, according to Reuters.

Ren called for the reform of the State-run sports system, saying that the bottom-up promotion of sports should join with top-down management, which can achieve the goal of fully using resources and cultivating public participation.

Du Liya contributed to this story

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