‘Sports+’ Hangzhou hints at peppy China
Published: Oct 07, 2023 11:19 PM
Illustration: Liu Xiangya/Global Times

Illustration: Liu Xiangya/Global Times

Sticking to the goal of exhibiting a youthful, creative "Chinese style" while showing the charm of the city of Hangzhou, the 19th Asian Games, crowded with a battalion of Generation Z athletes and staff, has set a trend for the Game's history to become what netizens called the most "edgy and vibrant" Games ever. 

Helmed by the Hangzhou Asian Games Organizing Committee (HAGOC), the 19th Asian Games have been designed to blend with numerous creative scenes that are "playful" compared to traditional international sport galas' solemn ambiance. DJ sets with strong drum beats and dazzling lights have been a highlight of the gala. 

These sets, handled mainly by young DJs, have provided uplifting music performances ahead of many different competitions and left audiences worldwide with unforgettable memories. 

No matter if it's the song "I Love You, China" played after Team China won the table tennis gold medal, "Marry Me Today" played when a spectator made a marriage proposal, or star Jay Chou's "Dao Xiang" (lit: The Fragrance of Rice) covered by Chinese swimmer Zhang Yufei played after the athlete-slash-singer won her championship, the "Hangzhou Asian Games background music" has been rather "uncommon." It has also been a successful "marketing tool" that has highlighted the Hangzhou Asian Games' youthful ambiance and sparked netizen's enthusiastic discussions and approval. 

"It makes me feel that winning or losing is not all we should value here. We are here to share the happiness and spirit brought by the art of sports," posted a netizen on Sina Weibo. 

"Those lights and sounds are epic. It enhances those promising young athletes' youthfulness and makes me feel young again," as another netizen posted. 

What behind this music is not only fun but actually the HAGOC's wise attempt to diversify the 19th Asian Games. 

Those musical choices are introduced as a "youth-oriented perspective" to help athletes gear up for their competitions while engaging audiences. 

Combining traditional sports competition with hot pop songs has allowed a new creative "sports+culture" model to emerge from the Hangzhou Asian Games. The model helps "sports" have an enlarged social impact, such as igniting the public's appreciation of good values as well as being resilient and courageous.

The creative combination have helped international audiences see China's growth and its diverse "personality" as showing China's cultural humanity is one of the main goals of the Hangzhou Asian Games. 

The "sports+" model has been extended beyond the cultural area. With the Hangzhou Asian Games' promise to host a "smart" sports event, its "edgy" character can also be seen in the high-tech designs such as a "digital torch bearer" and "robot dogs" used to fetch the discuses as well as a mini program that includes translation and guided tour functions that allow visitors to become Games insiders with just the tap of a finger. 

If the "sports+culture" model reveals the diversity of Chinese culture, the "sports+technology" model at the Games represents China's power of innovation. 

Xu Weihua, head of the Information Technology Command Center at the Hangzhou Asian Games, said that digital technology is the Games' "legacy" and will be treated as a prototype for helping the city further promote its digital economy in the future. 

Marian, a sports fan in the UK, said that she watched the Asian Games almost every day and was really amazed by China's organizational abilities and its efforts to design the Games.

China is leading the gold medal tally as the benchmark event comes to a close on Sunday. A large number of athletes belong to Generation Z, like diving star Quan Hongchan and 13-year-old skateboarder Cui Chenxi.  

While these Generation Z athletes are new to the competition field, their performances were however veteran-like, showing that today's young Chinese people's joyful character runs parallel to their determination and courage. 

Chinese Generation Z athletes have intrigued netizens, sparking broad discussion on China's Sina Weibo. Many of them have expressed their appreciation of these young athletes. 

They show the world the best image of young Chinese.

The author is a reporter with the Global Times.