I spent the past 7.5 days in Beijing as a guest of the Chinese Track Federation. Between work and being a tourist I obviously haven’t had much time to spend on ELITETRACK but I figured my trip would provide some interesting blog material for a new blog series. My long flight back has given me some time to put together a series of blogs that I’ll publish over the next couple days.
I want to start off by providing a quick overview of the Chinese sport system. Before I arrived I was a little clueless who I was working and presenting for. I knew that it was the Chinese Track Federation but everything was being held at a university, which seemed to be a little strange. Well, it turns out that unlike the U.S. they have an integrated sport school and national training system. I was at the Beijing Sport University but right on campus is also several of the national training centers (the equivalent of our Olympic Training Centers but for specific sports), a hotel for foreign guests, and a 5 star restaurant for entertaining those guests. There are also dorms for both the 5,000 students attending the university and the several hundred national team athletes who live there on a regular or visiting basis. The approach to athletic development is very different from anything in the U.S. The sport school boasts academic majors as diverse as table tennis, hammer throwing, and physiology at the Bachelors, Masters, and PhD levels. The goal of the school is to produce coaches and sport scientists to assist in the future development of national team athletes. In this regard, the system is very similar to the former Soviet and DDR systems.
In upcoming blog entries I’ll go over there amazing facilities and give you an overview of what goes on at the university and training centers as well as offer some insights from some top German coaches who were also presenters at the conference.