Ollie Williams on Understanding China’s gymnastics powerhouse

A great new article from BBC Sport’s Ollie Williams. At the weekend he posted this picture of the Chinese Women’s Coach “being grilled” by the media as to why the Chinese Women wouldn’t be bringing home any gold medals from Worlds, the first time this has happened since 2002. It’s easy to say, duh, Huang and Kexin fell from the bars in the Individual Apparatus Finals and almost handed Beth Tweddle the World title.

Ollie discusses how gymnastics in China is perceived, age falsification, China’s response on being beaten at the Beijing Olympic Games, the Chinese Gymnastics Program and the British Coaches attitude to the Chinese way of coaching.

Gymnastics in China is a nationwide industry and one in which the majority of Chinese children will at some stage participate, spending six months being taught basic stretches and movements to ascertain if their bodies are suited to the sport.

If chosen to progress, budding gymnasts move into what Low calls a “relentless” programme, packed with targets which they must hit at regular intervals. As a result, Low has seen girls aged 11 and 12 perform world-class routines. From there, the centralised system sweeps the country’s finest prospects into a single, national centre in Beijing, where they will live and train.

Read the full article here – it’s excellent

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