May 14 - Can China pull in another mammoth 51 gold medal win in London? Julie Noce reports.
China made history in 2008-- as Olympic host city, they wowed the world with their memorable opening ceremony and managed to win a whopping 51 gold medals. But is the world's number two economy ready to compete as a sporting power house? Traditionally, athletes in sports like table tennis and gymnastics have pulled in the majority of the medals. (SOUNDBITE) (Mandarin) FORMER CHINESE OLYMPIC AND WORLD'S GYMNASTIC CHAMPION LI XIAOPENG SAYING: "I think the existing system of Chinese national sports teams has been proved successful for long enough. As you can see, there are so many emerging Olympic and world champions every year. This shows the Chinese sports system is a very successful channel." But after China's massive 51 medal win four years ago, China has spent more time and money on efforts to broaden it's sports culture. Experts say this coupled with fierce nationalism will help secure China a spot on the international sporting super stage. (SOUNDBITE) (Mandarin) CHIEF SPORTS EDITOR OF NETEASE MEDIA GROUP YAN QIANG SAYING: "Achieving success in the international competitions is definitely a wonderful way of showing patriotism and a great form of patriotism itself. Politically, it must be valued and used. I believe the sports nationalism will exist forever." Still, coaches are quick to temper expectations for London. How well their athletes do this time will depend on a number of variables including the loss of home turf advantage, time differences and strange food. Julie Noce, Reuters