EYESHENZHEN  /   Opinion

The warmth of sports

Writer: Winton Dong  |  Editor: Jane Chen  |  From: Shenzhen Daily  |  Updated: 2021-08-09

In an article published July 29, the day when the Chinese team began to top the gold medal tally in the Tokyo Olympic Games, The New York Times labeled China as a sports machine with the single goal to get more gold medals.

As a world-famous newspaper, it is unfair and unreasonable for The New York Times to make such a biased and sour comment about China. After arduous training and competition for many years, every athlete carries the good wish of his or her homeland. There is no doubt that winning an Olympic medal, especially a gold medal, is not only the dream of an athlete, but also brings fame to his or her country.

As the most populous country in the world, with decades of robust economic and social development and the unceasing improvements of people's living standards, it is natural that Chinese athletes have the capability to get more and more gold medals in the Olympics and other international sports games. Facts have proved that in the Tokyo Games China not only has retained its strength in those traditional strong sporting sectors such as table tennis and weightlifting, but also sharpened its edges in some new areas such as swimming, shooting, fencing and even field sports, which were originally dominated by Western and African countries.

Frankly speaking, compared with China, the United States is even more eager and enthusiastic about getting medals in the Olympics. For example, while many other countries use the number of gold medals to rank all participating countries and regions, The New York Times and the National Broadcasting Company (NBC) still use the medals total (including all gold, silver and bronze medals) to compile the ranking. They do so just because the Unites States has more silver and bronze medals than China.

Winning without arrogance and losing with grace: the Olympics represents the noble virtues of all human beings. Its essential value is not only to win medals, but to win with fairness and dignity. However, it seems that, as a superpower, the United States does not want to accept any other country to surpass it, no matter whether in economy, science, technology, sports or any other perspective.

In addition to the competing spirit, the Olympics should, more importantly, send warmth to the world. According to news reports, Hend Zaza, a 12-year-old table tennis player from the poverty-stricken and war-torn Syria, is the youngest participant in the Tokyo Olympics. She was disqualified by an Austrian player in the first round. Despite the fact that she quickly lost the game, her undaunting spirit has inspired the world. Getting to know her experience and hardship, the Chinese Olympic Committee has invited her for further professional training in China. If all procedures go smoothly, the girl will come to China and get the best table tennis training starting in September this year.

While China is offering a helping hand to others, what is the United States doing? In my point of view, the United States has no higher moral status to criticize other countries. When famous U.S. gymnastic player Simone Biles decided to quit the Tokyo Olympic Games due to psychological problems, American netizens slammed and vilified her in one voice.

Who really cares about Biles' spiritual health condition? Does the United States give due credit and warmth to her who has earned many gold medals for the country? I suggest that the biased U.S. media and people review the HBO documentary "At the Heart of Gold: Inside the USA Gymnastic Scandal." As a victim in the scandal, Biles and as many as 260 other American gymnastic girl players were sexually molested by Larry Nassar, the doctor of U.S. Gymnastic Team, for almost 20 years from 1996 to 2015 until Nassar was sacked. Since gymnasts need training from childhood, it is reported that the youngest victim was only 6 years old. Nassar was sentenced to 175 years in prison in 2018. As an accomplice, John Geddert, former coach of the U.S. Gymnastic Team, was also criminally prosecuted in January 2021 in Michigan. He committed suicide several hours after the prosecution.

(The author is the editor-in-chief of Shenzhen Daily with a Ph.D. from the Journalism and Communication School of Wuhan University.)