Chasing the Olympic dream

Hooray to Li Jia Wei and team for Singapore’s Silver! :)


Yesterday I happened to watch this documentary titled “Little Big Dreams” on Channel News Asia (CNA). It was about the journey of 4 kids in China on their way to being Olympians clinching the gold medal. 2 of them were 2 boys aged around 9, Zeyang and Xurui.

Both of them attend a gymnast school where they are put through hours and hours of training, where then they will train for the provincial competition, where then those who get through will get a chance to train for the Olympics.

The upsetting thing, to me, was that both Zeyang and Xurui did not even want to be Olympians in the first place. Their family are the ones who want them to be top-notch Olympians.

Interviewer: Do you enjoy training for gymnastics?

Zeyang: No.

Interviewer: What do you want to be when you grow up?

Zeyang: A professor.

So sad la there was one scene where he almost cried during training coz it was too hard and another scene where he called his sister to tell her that he missed her. He’s been away from home for 6 years coz the school is far from his home, his family visits often.

Sister: Just now mummy visit, you didn’t tell her? (That he misses his sister)

Zeyang: No.. coz later mummy will be worried.


Once Xurui even cried and called his family to take him back because of the competitive training. But his family, who is poor and is pinning all hopes on him, didn’t want to. They had sacrificed time and money just so Xurui could go to gymnast school. He had to be carried from the roadside all the way back to school coz he refused to go back.

His family kept saying, “We want him to get the Olympic gold medal..” 

As much as it is a parent’s dream to want the best for their children, it got me thinking, is it fair to pin down everything on that boy? Does it matter if he doesn’t like it? Obviously not. Furthermore the coach gave him extra tough training coz he was the weakest among the other students.

Xurui kept saying, “I have trained here for so long, but I am still here. I have let my family down.”

And he is only 9 years old.

Then there is one 8 yr old girl who was training for gymnast also, she was very spunky with short hair and very cute!

She wants to be a world champion and don’t mind the tough training. But when they interviewed her coach, he said, “Her proportion is not appropriate for Olympic gymnastics. She is not petite enough.”

I was like, Whoa..?! Felt like slapping that guy. So what now, even if she trains hard and qualifies, she can’t get through just because she’s not petite enough?

Can you imagine how many of them are training right now just to get a chance to win that one and only gold medal? Only the best of the best will survive. They have to be the best of the best in their country, and China has a population of nearly 300 times of Singapore. If you’re not good enough, bye bye Olympics.  

The coach emphasized, “In chasing the Olympian dream, only one can be the winner.” 

No wonder so many of them don’t mind playing for other countries.

What will we be without them.


8 responses to “Chasing the Olympic dream

  1. Huda Lee

    Oh…I watched this too! It was terrible lah! They are so obviously physically and mentally abused and the coach say its not torture. He said its a way to develop their character and determination etc. But then some of the kids do not even have the interest so why force them…and what is even more sad was the fact that some kids are so deprived of their childhood and the parents don’t even understand what they are going through. :( :(

  2. simplymardy

    yeah! then their parents kept saying that “they don’t know what they want yet coz they are still kids..” i actually cried seh when they interview Zeyang, coz he look so miserable. what he really wants to do, he is not able to.. coz their victory are their family’s victory, and their failure are their family’s failure. what a huuuuge responsibility.

  3. heyhaidar

    i watched a similar north korean documentary about a girl training so hard for their country national mass dance just for the president and the president didn’t even turn up for the mass games.

    yeah it’s a sad life and i agree, what we’ll do without this foreign talents. =)

  4. simplymardy

    ouch for that poor girl man. reality bites. it’s a win-win situation with them foreign talents. yeap.

  5. fyzaoh

    eh u know. the students from tt country in this uni (where im working) ..i heard of cases where they just snapped or .. commit suicide.

    one case ..the student stared blankly at everyone, then stood in the middle of the road, put his books and bags down the road there ..and became traffic warden and started signalling to the vehicles ..jam beb.

    then this student commit suicide cos he has all along been an A student. bila dapat C – dia putus asa dan decide to end kehidupannya. the parents didnt want his body back. kesian. kalau hidup untuk dunia ..mesti cham nih..takde tempat untuk bergantung ..*shakes head*

    i was with the FAs last night ..when we were talking about this beijing olypmic *urghhh* we feel when the m’sian sports broadcaster always had to emphasis to the 3 ladies there “…dan inilah peduduk tetap Singapura berasal dari ceenaa..” roaaarrr …dorangtuhjeleskott! huahuahua!!

  6. simplymardy

    @ students commit suicide & brain jam: woah.. that bad huh? seraaam. he put so much on getting As when in fact, in life As don’t guarantee you success. sedih seh his parents dont want the body back, was it their expectations that propelled him to do that? sheesh…

    @ olympics: haha… obviously seh. he didnt need to place special emphasis on dari mane.. but he did. oh well!

  7. fyzaoh

    ak’ah ..sebb dia under scholarship. so ada expectations ah. nasib sekolah nih nyer insurance covers death of abt 5K.

    u-know, this uni, is the one and ony uni (i bet in the whole wide world) that covers mental coverage. ALL my exchange students from europe n china, their sch insurance’s dun have this mental coverage (they are equally shocked that singapore uni must include this). i think ..that china olypic sch, should have also. *pis* heh!

  8. simplymardy

    ok this is the first time im hearing this, that there is such thing as mental coverage. must have been from years of students breaking down and brain jamming huh?

    heh thaaat last point, i assume, is truly depending on their parents as well. >_<

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