The Reality of a Soviet-style Sports System

1479 WordsJul 8, 20186 Pages
China has been known for their medal winning athletes and Olympic success throughout history. This large communistic country carries with it a reputation of being harsh on its athletes and it begs the question, what exactly have they done to become one of the most athletically successful countries in the world and just how far will they go? “China’s methods would not be allowed elsewhere”(11) says British athlete, Joanna Parker. Although they often take home the gold at the Olympics, they have a very Soviet style sports system which involves harsh training where children are recruited at early ages and taken from their homes. Despite China’s success, the sports system has a negative impact on the athletes’ lives before, during and after…show more content…
However if a child becomes a successful athlete, money and bonuses may be brought to not only the athlete but their family as well. Imagine waking up at 6 am every morning and then exercising, only eating a small and simple breakfast, training until evening and rarely talking to your family; This is a typical day for a Chinese athlete in a training school. Training in China is rigorous and drills continue throughout the day and sometimes continue into the night. There are approximately 3,000 government run schools, 20 major programs, and 200 smaller ones and they all share one characteristic, harsh training(Hays). Coaches are extremely hard on their athletes, and often times not in a kind way. One athlete described that a coach walked up to one of his athletes and kicked him for no reason. A diving coach told one source “if you want a good performance out of her, you’ll have to beat her”(McNeil), abusive behavior is somewhat typical in China when it comes down to the training schools. Athletes of all ages are pushed past the breaking point and are continuously expected to do more and the coaches have no boundaries when it comes to getting a good athletic performance. The athletes belong to the government and work for them, they aren’t children but a product of the system. “It was kind of like living a military life” one athlete explains; China controls just about every aspect of their lives’.

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