Yao Ming Mania! All about Chinese basketball star and NBA All-Star Yao Ming » 2012 London Olympics

'2012 London Olympics' category archive

Great article: How Chinese national team basketball is changing

Thursday, August 9th, 2012
by John

Although the men’s Chinese basketball team lost all 5 of their Olympic games by 25.2 points per game, the AP published a pretty good piece on how they have started to practice more like Western teams, thanks to American coach Bob Donewald.

I highly recommend the article. Below are just a few excerpts I thought were interesting:

“I told him in 2010, there’s two most difficult jobs in the world right now,” veteran center Wang Zhizhi said through an interpreter. “One is saving the miners in Chile and the other one is taking over the Chinese men’s basketball team.”

“I know there’s some talent coming up,” said Donewald, who coached his last game with China on Monday. “I just hope it’s developed properly. It’s got to start young and it’s got to be done in the right way.”

In three years at the helm, Donewald and Philo managed to change some aspects of China’s rigid basketball program. Donewald negotiated the power to choose the team, a huge departure for a CBA that has dictated the roster, coaching staff and even bed times for players. The players no longer wear themselves out with eight hours a day of practice and the focus has shifted to defense.

“I’m the first coach in the history of this damn thing to be able to pick my staff and the roster,” Donewald said over dinner at the Westfield Mall. “And now that was my speech to the players. ‘I picked you. I picked you for a reason.’

“It also gave me the ability to say, if you don’t play any defense, you’re out of here.”

When Donewald first laid down the defense-first edict, Zhizhi told him, “This is China. We don’t play defense.”

Whenever a player did not talk on defense, his name was put on a board with a check mark by it. The more checks, the more sprints he had to run after practice.

“What we try to do is point out that basketball culture is different than culture culture,” Donewald said. “In Chinese culture, you don’t talk a lot. It’s very reserved. In basketball you have to talk. You have to be outgoing. So what we’ve tried to do is to get a basketball culture when you step between the lines, there was a little more talking to it.”

In a developmental system where every decision is made for them, they have tried to instill some sense of individualism, some “swagger,” as Philo likes to put it.

Liu Xiang hits hurdle, out of Olympics

Tuesday, August 7th, 2012
by John

Today in London Chinese 110 meter hurdler Liu Xiang had another heartbreaking moment, tripping over the first hurdle in his heat, falling to the ground, and not finishing the race.

After winning the gold in the 2004 Athens Olympic games in the same event, Liu is officially out of the Olympics for the second time in a row after having to bow out in Beijing in 2008 because of an Achilles injury.

August 7th, 2012 - Liu Xiang falls in the 110m hurdle race in London that eliminated him from competition

After Liu fell, he immediately started rubbing the same Achilles that gave him problems in Beijing. After getting up, he hopped around on one foot to the tunnel away from view of the fans, but came back out and hopped the distance of the 110 meter track to kiss the last hurdle, and say goodbye to his competitors.

Click here for more compelling photos in the forum of Liu Xiang after falling, thanks to Raymond.

Yao says goodbye to London, Wang ZhiZhi. Comments about Chinese team controversies

Tuesday, August 7th, 2012
by John

As you may already know, Yao went to London to be a CCTV5 television commentator for Chinese basketball games. Unfortunately, the Chinese team lost all 5 of their games at the Olympics by an average of 25.2 points.

After their last defeat against Great Britain that knocked the Chinese out of the Games, Yao rushed down to interview and console Chinese player Wang ZhiZhi, who probably played in his last Olympic games.

August 6th, 2012 - Yao Ming consoles Chinese basketball player Wang ZhiZhi after the Chinese 5th and final loss of the Olympic games in London

August 6th, 2012 - Yao Ming consoles Chinese basketball player Wang ZhiZhi after the Chinese 5th and final loss of the Olympic games in London

Click here to see more photos of Yao and Wang ZhiZhi, courtesy of Raymond in the forum.

Meanwhile, Yao was recently asked about some of the controversies that had fallen upon some Chinese athletes in other Olympic sports. Regarding the amazing performance by Chinese woman swimmer Ye Shiwen, whose time in the final 50 meters of her 400m medley was quicker than U.S. winner Ryan Lochte and Michael Phelps in the men’s competition, Yao responded to accusations from people like American coach John Leonard (not part of the US Olympic team) that it was “impossible” without some kind of doping to help her.

“Ye jumped out from nowhere to take away the glories that the Americans thought belonged to them for a long time,

“It’s not a good feeling, same feeling for us if someone takes away the gold medal from the Chinese on table tennis. But I think the Americans were not gentlemen when they said like that.”

“I can understand the Americans, who dominated the pool for decades. It’s a common reaction. It happened when (Jamaican sprinter) Usain Bolt emerged, and it happened again on Ye.”

Yao also commented on the two Chinese badminton players, Yu Wang and Wang Xiaoli, for being two of eight players disqualified from women’s doubles competition for trying to lose matches. The top seeds were among four pairs who tried to lose their final group matches to secure a favorable quarter-final draw. But many observers criticized the unusual pool format as open to manipulation. Yao stated…

“Same kind of things happened in basketball. It’s a simple question. Is the match-fixing scandal right? Does a gold medal value more than anything else?”.

“My stand is clear, and I accept different opinions. People have different attitudes to the Olympics and I must say some sports need to polish the rules.”

“I feel really sorry for the punished players. They are the victims.”

Click here for the entire article regarding Yao’s comments.

Now that the Chinese have been eliminated from basketball competition, Yao will not continue commenting on any of the remaining basketball games. Raymond reports that Yao will probably go to Africa this week for some United Nations environmental and wildlife protection campaigns and activities.

Yao in London for the Olympics [pics]

Friday, July 27th, 2012
by John

Yao Ming arrived in London a couple of days ago for the 2012 Olympics. He will be a basketball announcer for CCTV5. Click here for more photos of Yao arriving at the airport in England.

July 25th, 2012 - Yao Ming arrives in London for the 2012 Olympics as an announcer for Chinese CCTV5

You can bet we will have more photos of Yao in London as the Games start and progress, so make sure to come back!