China’s Medal Mill

By Mark Esposito, Guest Blogger

The sign above the gym floor contains one word, “Gold.” It’s a stark, relentless reminder to the children beneath it as to just what their mission requires. China’s obsession with winning Olympic gold has turned gymnasiums into dungeons for its youngest and most promising athletes.  Starting at age five, children are subjected to strenuous training techniques like hanging on rails with their arms extended backwards, swinging on beams, and being given painful lessons on what it takes to beat all comers and particularly Americans.  And the work seems to be paying off at the London games, as 16-year-old Ye Shiwen swam her way to a world record in the 400 meter individual medley beating the old record by almost one second. Her teammate, Sun Yang, won the 400m freestyle. Both attribute their success to “hard work and training.” And in China, that’s no sports cliché.

In a stinging expose, the UK’s Daily Mail parted the curtain of one of China’s most successful training facilities, the Nanning Gymnasium. The photographs speak for themselves.

Here are some pictures taken by the Daily Mail:

79 thoughts on “China’s Medal Mill”

  1. Really introspect. China don’t engage in wars anymore. To grow our economy and make people richer and happier is the governments goal… What is worse, working hard to gain Olympic medals or getting killed by Iraq invasion as a child? America should do the same. Economy, make people happy, healthy and richer… Those are the real stuff. Happy people..

  2. Don’t fear china, it’s political system like a homophobia.. The world is a big place, there is more than one way to get things right. Come to the communist country and see for yourself how our capitalism works! People are happy for the most part and rich… That’s what matters. Deng once said, the color of the cat does not matter, as long as it can catch mouse, it is a good cat. We, as a communist country, can be so open minded, and adopt your economic model, why can’t you be a little open minded too? The fittest always survives.. If America wants to excel, you need to get off of your white horse, and start to open your mind, maybe even learn from others… Being close minded will only lead to death. China learded the lesson early, it’s time for America to do the homeworks too. For the minimum, start with less pointing flaws of others, and really introspect.

  3. I wouldn’t have brought up the long list of things you should mind if there weren’t people going around getting involved in other peoples business.

    Really, come on… Do something to take care of yourself, so that other country don’t have to take care of you… For the minimal, if you don’t pay your debt you owe to us, at least be a little humble. There is no sense of shame in owing money anymore? There is no sense of shame in all the 99 things that you couldn’t get right and yet picking on things you don’t like in other country? Really?

  4. I’ll just point to the irony and hypocrisy of saying “[m]ind your own business” and following it with a list of you not minding your own business and leave it at that.

  5. Not easy to see. However, American kids go through the same hardship to succeed. Most of Chinese kids do have health care. In fact, universal coverage will be reality in three to five years. Mind your own business, grow your own economy, find ways to create more jobs, take care of your own sick, stop all the criticism, and pay off of your debt. Thanks.

  6. Rick contributed:
    ” No Pain No Gain Looks like it is working for the Chinese. Americans are so soft and hypocritical. ”

    Perhaps another phrase might be working for the Chinese…

    “The Floggings Will Continue Until Morale Improves.”

  7. rick:

    “Americans are so soft and hypocritical.”


    Everybody seems to feel that way — until they need our blood or treasure. Then they greet us with flower petals and blown kisses.

    Yep, we’re the soft hypocrites.

  8. No Pain No Gain Looks like it is working for the Chinese. Americans are so soft and hypocritical.

  9. Child abuse is international

    BOSTON — The men came from different walks of life on two continents: a children’s puppeteer in Florida, a hotel manager in Massachusetts, an emergency medical technician in Kansas, a day care worker in the Netherlands. In all, 43 men have been arrested over the past two years in a horrific, far-flung child porn network that unraveled like a sweater with a single loose thread.

    In this case, the thread was a stuffed toy bunny.

    The bunny, seen in a photo of a half-naked, distraught 18-month-old boy, was used to painstakingly trace a molester to Amsterdam. From there, investigators made one arrest after another of men accused of sexually abusing children, exchanging explicit photos of the attacks and even chatting online about abducting, cooking and eating youngsters.

    Read more:

  10. The Olympic Creed reads:
    “The most important thing in the Olympic Games is not to win but to take part, just as the most important thing in life is not the triumph but the struggle. The essential thing is not to have conquered but to have fought well.”

    seems some forget.

  11. The ones who don’t make the team will be making your Nikes (and our Olympic team’s uniforms (and everything else)) next year.

  12. mespo:

    “must we give China a pass to torture it’s children to glorify its sports machine? ”

    China isnt torturing its children to glorify its sports machine. It is torturing its children to glorify its socialist/communist philosophy.

  13. keith:

    “China is a nation that everybody on earth crushed and humiliated, and treated less than dirt.”


    Even assuming your statement is more than just whining propaganda, must we give China a pass to torture it’s children to glorify its sports machine? Non-sequitur and rationalization are words that come to mind.

  14. Keith wrote:
    ” plus, we expect everyone to reach their social harmony in a jiffy and at no cost ”

    Do you think the girl in the photo at the top of the page might like her agony relieved next year, when she is elderly. Or in a Jiffy?

    I might ask you to reconsider your belief on this. Being an apologist for a government or nation that engages in brutality large or small is akin to supporting it because it offers them license to continue.

    By declaring them to be the victim and us to be the oppressor caters to this license. Ask the children in especially the two pictures at the top, imagine that we are able to for our discussion here, “Do you feel China’s relations with the Western world are one of oppression or is that statement just a rhetorical attempt at an esoteric observation made to declare one’s self to be more enlightened and of higher moral authority than his peers?”

    The realist in me would believe the child would say “Stop it” or “help me.”

    That is exactly what is happening on both an individual or collective scale in countries where repression happens and apologists empower them. We allow this to happen because of too many excuses, deferrments to sovereign perogative, or unwillingness to intercede. We can stop much more of this, but we don’t and individuals suffer. Should they not matter, or is their suffering a noble and irrelevant consequence. I maintain that it is unacceptable at all levels. And, especially today despite the past we should put it to an end.

    I understand that there are many levels of competence or degrees of liberty in the leadership of each nation. I am not advocating unilateral intervention in a nation due to errors in planning, differences in culture, poverty, or a breakdown in infrastructure. But, the time is now to end murder and torture of individuals by government leaders. We can do this RIGHT NOW by refusing to allow it to happen. I know this is a bit off topic but most recently the Syrian government should have been shaking in its boots the very moment it ordered a warship to shell a costal city where people were simply demanding a change of the current order. Fearing it should have the international community gearing up to take it out of power and hold its leadership accountable for crimes against humanity. To me there was in this case no difference between Assad and Charles Whitman during their respective killing sprees. They both should have been treated accordingly, as murderers.

    But back to the boys and girls of this topic. At what point do individuals become expendable in geopolitics? I believe they should never be, think of yourself if you were in her place would you think differently. A true measure of a society is how it treats its most vulnerable. In that light would you agree with these training motives?

  15. I remember back when Olga Korbut was just getting famous. Another gymnast, who was built like an actual woman, decried the use of smaller and thinner girls as gymnasts. And then Nadia Comanich and her trainer, who starved his girls so they would stay small and not begin to menstruate … this is why I haven’t been able to watch gymnastics for decades now.

  16. we’re always great at giving lessons…
    China is a nation that everybody on earth crushed and humiliated, and treated less than dirt.
    We, in the west had to enslave the universe, then kill one-another by the masses in countless gigantic wars, to finally reach a certain equilibrium around the late sixties, early seventies. And we think that our relative social stability is inherent and normal to our culture….plus, we expect everyone to reach their social harmony in a jiffy and at no cost….
    My friends, it’s too easy to criticize….

  17. Darren Smith brings up a good point. I would like to see the IOC take a strong stand against treatment like that. The USOC should take a definite lead in that, as well as other European Nations.

  18. Following in the footsteps of the USSR, PDRG and the parents of countless olympic athletes worldwide.

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