China's He Zi (R) and Wu Minxia pose with their gold medals on the podium after winning the women's Synchronised 3m springboard during the London 2012 Olympic Games at the Aquatics Centre July 29, 2012. REUTERS/David Gray
As of the time of writing, China leads the London 2012 Olympic medal table with 73 pieces of silverware to their name. A staggering achievement without question, but are their methods towards this commendable, or plain terrible?
Becoming an Olympic athlete - let alone a champion, is by no means an easy feat. It takes dedication, hard work, passion, motivation, and sacrifice; the stuff of, well, Olympians.
But at what cost?
*SEE GALLERY ABOVE FOR PHOTOS FROM SOME OF CHINA's GOVERNMENT-RUN PROGRAMS
Olympic medals don't come cheap; this is fact. But to pay the price of beating children into 'Olympic shape' has to be seen as some kind of ridiculousness.
China's recent run of medals and overall success at the London 2012, has yet again stirred up attention to its government-run training programs, and the sometimes brutal harshness of it.
Wu Minxia's golden horror
Media reports have recently highlighted such an issue with one Chinese diver, Wu Minxia of China - who amidst celebrating a gold medal in synchronized diving and becoming the sport's first ever three-time consecutive gold medal winner, was informed to her surprise that her grandparents had died a year earlier, and that her own mother had been battling cancer for the last eight years.
Why - you might ask, wasn't she informed of these things earlier? Her parents were quoted in a report stating that keeping the information from her was seen to be "essential" to her training.
So while the perceived "essentials" may have in fact brought her great fame and success as an all-time diving great, did it bring her happiness? Was it the right way to go about being an Olympic competitor?
China's 'Gym-nasty' program
In a more familiar instance, gymnastics in particular, is a sport that requires athletes to begin training at a very young age. And this wouldn't be the first - or the last - time that China's Olympic program for gymnasts comes to view for its often cruel regime.
In China, children at a very young age - 4 years and above - are often shipped off to intensive government-run training camps where it is purely 'survival of the fittest - and the strongest gets beaten just as much'. The best of the best are handpicked to represent the country, and the rest get to simply go home in spite of the years of "essential" training.
This is again seen in the way China celebrates its gold medal winners with loud applause and its silver-lists with no acknowledgement at all.
At what cost would you send your children to strive for gold?
Typically, the Olympic Games are a showcase of 'amateur' athletes with a shot at global athletic glory. It is grounds where the likes of almost unheard of names to some parts of the world, such as Malaysia's Yeoh Kee Nee, can shine next to global athlete megastars such as Datuk Lee Chong Wei; on the very same platform, and all are celebrated for their achievements.
But what was done to Wu Minxia, and the many, many other athletes around the world (other countries too are known to condoneand practise these regimes) who endure similar fates can't be right. Can it? Are we to condone delight in gold medals at the cost of child abuse? Or is this what it takes to win medals?
So we put it to YOU, dear reader. What do you make of such training regimes? Are Pokemon, Ultraman and hopscotch a fair trade for abuse, pain and a gold medal?
There is much need for sacrifice in winning Olympic medals, but if you were Wu Minxia, would you be as pleased about your records and medals at the end of the day?
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Children do not have a voice...... do we feel their fear, terror, pain ? When they cling on to you, aren't they saying " Please help me , save me, I'm scared ! " PLEASE ...... just love them and let them be what they are !
I totally agree with Don b Bossy. Be a mature reader, don't just judge from what you see or read without find out the fact.
A lot of irresponsible editor just manipulate those immature reader by showing photos. I'm not saying that this editor irresponsible. The key factor is to find out the fact, don't simply believe what you see but without knowing the fact.
MSN belongs to American. They are number 2 currently in the medal ranking to date just after CHINA. Will it be an tactic to embarrass China? We should ponder about this.
understand that everyone need good disipline in order to excel. but sending children to such harch disipline seems so wrong to me..especially when they are actually living someone's else dream.
The debate should be if it is right for Government-sponsored full time training from childhood in order to excel in world sports? ... China & the Chinese parents(by willingly surrendering their children) seem to support these state-sponsored rigourous training of their athletes.
Those who has been to China recently can see how modern the society there nowadays.. I don't believe there is a " force in it " approach for these children.
Other nations may adopt different approach...
Yes, there could be thousands who did not make it like Wu Minxia & Lin Dan; but it is just like the school systen where only the best can be picked for world competitions...
Even if Wu Minxia says it is worth it, since she won the Gold Medals, but what about ****dreds
of others or even thousands (in China) in the same program, who didn't make it. Will they take it as
they are failures and will be dicarded or do they get another chance. Remember, there will be thousands more waiting in line to get a chance to be picked for their programs.
These 'have been' will have their childhood sacrficed for nothing and who knows what will happen to
Why is there a China bashing in the media these last few days ... is it pure jealousy of the gold medal counts that China has won ?
I have a feeling that these pictures are exaggerated to embarrass China.. these pictures could have been taken anywhere... unless the athletes come forward & testify, we can't just believe these crabs.
I am proud of China's schievements... the pictures of Wu Minxia & Lin Dan also show they are proud of winning the gold medals for both themselves & China...
Let's be fair in our judging...