- Former world cup racer Michael Brunner: turning kung fu fighters into downhill racers
- Xi and Putin close ranks on Ukraine issue
- Mystery over citizenship of US-Chinese
- First Olympic results
- Team chief complains about quarantine conditions
- UN demands access for Bachelet
- Nadine Godehardt and Maximilian Mayer on the IOC’s lack of China expertise
- So To Speak: hitting a nail
did the stray dove symbolize Taiwan? At the opening ceremony of the Olympic Games on Friday, one of the participating children seemed to be too late to join the others to form the bright bird figure. It had to be taken by the hand, so it could find its way into the grand harmony. Both sides of the Taiwan Strait largely interpreted this as a political message. The resulting debate again demonstrates that this year’s Olympics are politically charged. Similarly controversial was the choice to let an Uyghur woman carry the torch to light the Olympic fire. Sports fans and athletes, on the other hand, want the Olympics to be held in a less delicate environment. After all, the only thing that is supposed to matter is who is the highest, the fastest, and the strongest.
An expert in sporting excellence is the distinguished ski coach Michael Brunner. He has plenty of tournament experience himself. China.Table spoke with him because he has been on a special assignment over recent years. He was tasked to quickly groom a generation of Chinese ski athletes. The talents he was mentoring were very athletic, but some of them had never been on snow before: young martial artists, dancers or gymnasts. Brunner was thus tasked with transforming typically Chinese talents into winter athletes. He told Michael Radunski about his experiences during the retraining of splits masters to downhill skiers.
By the way, Vladimir Putin also skis himself. His personal downhill coach was the former president of the Russian Olympic Committee. So Putin is probably also interested in the competitions. As a power politician, however, he has traveled to Beijing for a different reason. By getting China’s support, he is strengthening his position in the dispute over NATO’s eastward expansion and Ukraine. Xi has now promised Putin the desired support against the West. Read more about the two eastern powers joining forces in our analysis.
Who is Chinese? Under the red flag with the five stars, numerous athletes who grew up in other countries take part in the Olympics. Christiane Kuehl investigates the question to what extent the immigration authorities make exceptions in the interpretation of citizenship to benefit the medal table.
Although you will not find a medal table here, we still wish to keep you up to date on important Chinese achievements at irregular intervals. Other media only tend to focus on their country’s medals.
‘None of them had ever seen snow’
The Winter Olympics in Beijing have begun. Now it’s all about medals – and this is precisely where China has a problem. At the 2018 Winter Games in Pyeongchang, the athletes of the People’s Republic won only one meager gold medal. This does not reflect China’s image of itself under Xi Jinping. A medal table in which they win as few golds as Slovakia or Hungary and fewer than Belarus or the Czech Republic is not something Beijing wants to see again. “They got the Winter Olympics and then realized that they have no ski athletes at all.” That is Michael Brunner’s bitter diagnosis.
Brunner knows what he’s talking about. He used to be close to the world’s alpine top himself and was part of the German national team at the 1994 Games in Lillehammer. He now runs a ski school in Garmisch-Partenkirchen.
Brunner is undoubtedly an expert in his field. But the call from China came as something of a surprise. The former World Cup racer was to find China’s alpine medal contenders. “The Chinese then simply set up a program. The order from the top was: We want to have so and so many people in four years. Here’s the budget. Make it happen.” And Brunner got to work. In August 2018, Brunner flies to China, traveling to the ends of this vast country: to Nanning, to a city near the border to Vietnam where it never snows. Or to Kashgar, on the edge of the Taklamakan Desert. Brunner is organizing what is probably the biggest casting in sports history: Who will become China’s ski ace?