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More Chinese Olympic champions well educated
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Different education patterns for sportspeople

Universities have a particular approach to the higher education of their athletes.

Tsinghua University recruited nearly 30 champions in 1997. More recently that number has dropped. Although they recruit many talented athletes among their high school students every year, such students have to pass the entrance examination and achieve the required score. They can continue their sports training once they have joined the university, but they have to study hard for their majors because they need the necessary credits to graduate successfully.

Wu Minxia (left) and Guo Jingjing (right)

Wu Minxia (left) and Guo Jingjing (right) 

Before they become famous sports stars, many athletes receive only primary or middle school education. Such athletes may now further their education at Renmin University of China (RUC). Several springboard divers, including Wu Minxia and "springboard queen" Guo Jingjing, are now studying at RUC. Currently they attend a special class. After retiring from competition they will be treated as other students. They have to sit exams, and only after they have the required credits can they successfully graduate. Typically they will have to study 2 or 3 years longer than normal students, and they will have about two years of catching-up on their middle school studies before they come to RUC.

Zhang Xiangxiang

Zhang Xiangxiang 

Among Chinese universities, Beijing Sports University (BSU) is the most popular with athletes. Many famous athletes choose to further their studies there. In order to meet their needs BSU has arranged a special postgraduate class for high performers. Olympic champions Zhang Yining and Huang Xu once studied in this class. Those who come to study at BSU want to move on from their career as athletes into other fields. Often they will choose a major related to their sport and once they graduate they can become coaches or sports administrators without the need for further training and study. Weightlifting champion Zhang Xiangxiang has already obtained his Master's Degree. He will become a BSU lecturer after the Beijing Olympics.

(China.org.cn August 20, 2008)

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