China’s dominance of the Olympic Games are impressive, but their success comes with a price. As the photos in this article will demonstrate, the pursuit of glory can be taken too far, as very young child athletes are pushed beyond reasonable limits in the training centers across China.
While the photos below may explain China’s success in the Olympics, they also highlight the human cost of this “glory” to their child athletes, who are pushed by their parents and coaches to tears and physical pain. Of course this doesn’t only occur in China, but the photos below are being circulated by Chinese bloggers, some out of disgust, but some also out of pride.
The photos below have been culled from a few Chinese websites discussing this topic. I have included rough translations of the captions. Many of the captions use the word “help” to describe a coach’s assistance. I will include that word in quotes, because these photos look more like forced endurance than any sort of assistance. Click photos to see a larger version.
Nanning City, Guangxi Province, Stadium amateur sports school. A coach standing on the girl’s legs to “help” her stretch.
Children doing handstands. After five minutes, the children began to shake and cry, but fearing their coach, they remained in this position as the coach began counting to 100. Shortly after, they began practicing other sports.
This photo is described as “warm-up training” at a prestigious primary school before the start of the gymnastics team’s daily training.
The calloused hands of a Chinese child athlete.
We read that gymnastics athletes are younger than those in other sports. This is a daily warm-up stretch, which is described as the “most painful” for the children. This photo was taken at the the Jiaxing City Sports School gymnastics hall, showing a little boy’s flexibility training with the “help” of his coach.
This Chinese blogger discusses many of these photos. His caption (sorry for the weak translation) reads: This group of “star of the road from here,” shot in Nanning Stadium group from small children to sporting glory for the country to train hard, recorded from different angles and different levels of awards in the country.
See more high-resolution photos here.
What do you think?
Are the above photos merely a culture’s way of toughening up their child athletes on the path to glory, or are they evidence of abuse? Are gold medals worth it?