Yao Ming makes a big impression at Youth Olympic Village

 

 

Aljaz Slutej (1st from left) , player of Slovenia, and his teammates take a photo with the portrait

of Yao Ming, ambassador of Youth Olympic Games, in the Youth Olympic Village in Nanjing,

east China’s Jiangsu Province, on August 14, 2014.    Photo by Zhang Hongxiang 

 

Yao Ming (center), ambassador of Youth Olympic Games visits the Youth Olympic Village

in Nanjing on August 25, 2014.   Photo by Ren Zhenglai

 

Yao Ming , ambassador of Youth Olympic Games poses for photos with athletes at the Youth

Olympic Village in Nanjing on August 25, 2014.    Photo by Ren Zhenglai

 

 

 

 

 

 

Yao Ming makes

a big impression

at Youth Olympic Village

 

 

 

By Wang Chunyan and Liu Weiwei

 

 

Jaws dropped when Yao Ming strolled across the main square of the Youth Olympic Village on Monday of August 25. The youth Olympians could not stop staring at the towering basketball legend, one of the best-known sportsmen in China.

A young footballer from Iceland scrambled up alongside Yao and extended his arm into the air to see if it reached higher than the 2.26m tall YAO.

It did not.

“He is so big… just huge,” said Kristofer Ingi Kristinsson of Iceland as he took a picture of his teammate with Yao.

Paola Acevedo also stood up close to Yao and was almost speechless.

“He is so tall,” was all the Puerto Rican judoka could say.

Yao has an idea what the young athletes are experiencing at the Nanjing 2014 Youth Olympic Games.

He represented China at three Olympic Games – Sydney 2000, Athens 2004 and Beijing 2008. He was China’s flag bearer in 2004 and 2008, and carried the Olympic torch in Tiananmen Square before his home Games.

“These games are important, not only to educate the youth about competition, but for them to feel the Games, feel the Olympic spirit,” Yao said. “Hopefully these Games will make people more mature after their experiences here.

“I remember my first Olympic Games and it was a big shock for me. I was stunned by how many cultures there were, and sometimes it felt like I was in an alien world.

“But today, the world has become smaller and smaller. You can get in touch with a friend on the other side of the world in a totally opposite time zone.

“I took a walk in the Village today and I saw so many young athletes taking pictures, learning lessons in the World Culture Village. Even with my experience, I still felt like a child when I saw those things.”

Yao visited the Youth Olympic Village as an Athlete Role Model, and he sees a bright future for the competitors in Nanjing.

“I believe that after those young athletes finish these Games, they can become just like us [elite athletes] and one day people will follow them and treat them like role models too,” Yao said.

“There are 3,800 athletes here and they are the future of this sport. I also believe there are many more out there who are not here and the sports family is much larger than this village.”

At the Village, Yao joined a healthy cooking class and took his turn making lamb skewers with couscous.

“I never expected to be cooking with Yao Ming. This is very exciting,” said Shawn Morrison, the Trinidad and Tobago beach volleyball coach.

Yao was one of the first international players to make an impact in the NBA, playing for the Houston Rockets from 2002 to 2011, and his appearance at the Village caused quite a stir.

“We know him well in America,” said Josh Levin, an American sport climber who performed at the Nanjing 2014 Sports Lab. “It is very cool to see him here at the Youth Games.”

 

 

 

 

Yao Ming(right) , ambassador of Youth Olympic Games pictures in photo booth at the Digital

Media Centre of the Youth Olympic Village in Nanjing on August 25, 2014.   Photo by Ren Zhenglai 

 

Yao Ming , ambassador of Youth Olympic Games plays basketball at the Youth Olympic Village

in Nanjing on Aug 25, 2014.   Photo by Ren Zhenglai 

 

Yao Ming(2nd from left) , ambassador of Youth Olympic Games joins athletes in Healthy Cooking

workshop of the Youth Olympic Village in Nanjing on August 25, 2014.   Photo by Ren Zhenglai 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 Ambassador of Nanjing 2014 Youth Olympic Games, Chinese famous basketball player Yao Ming

accepts the interview of Xinhua News Agency at Nanjing 2014 Youth Olympic Games in Nanjing

on August 26, 2014.   Photo by Ren Zhenglai

 

 

 

Yao Ming:

Worst time for Chinese basketball yet to come

 

By Gao Peng

 

 

Ambassador of Nanjing 2014 Youth Olympic Games, Chinese

famous basketball player Yao Ming accepts the interview of

Xinhua News Agency at Nanjing 2014 Youth Olympic Games

in Nanjing on August 26, 2014.   Photo by Ren Zhenglai

 

 

Former NBA star Yao Ming said that the worst time for Chinese basketball has yet to come due to a shortage of talented young coaches in the country.

Yao was one of the first international players to make an impact in the NBA, playing for the Houston Rockets from 2002 to 2011. The 2.26m-tall center retired from basketball in July, 2011, after having represented China at three Olympic Games – Sydney 2000, Athens 2004 and Beijing 2008.

However, in the wake of Yao’s retirement, the Chinese men’s team failed to qualify for the quarterfinal round at the London 2012 Olympics, the first time since Sydney 2000, and they finished a disappointing fifth at the Asian championships in 2013.

“I’m worried about the future of the Chinese team rather than the plight that they are now facing,” Yao told Xinhua on Tuesday.

“Although the Chinese team are in a difficult time, Gong Luming is a very good coach and I have confidence that with Gong at the helm, our team will make progress.

“But I am worried that Chinese team may hit a new low after Gong retires, because the younger generation of coaches are less qualified,” added the 34-year-old Yao.

Yao, who visited the Youth Olympic Village in Nanjing as an Athlete Role Model, blamed the shortage of young talented coaches on the country’s educational system.

“In general, the younger generation of coaches haven’t received good education in schools, so they are not able to pass on knowledge and skills to the players in training,” he said.

Yao, who has focused much of his efforts on charity and education through sport after his retirement, called for the awareness of the vital role that sport can play in society.

“In China, sport has yet to be fully considered as an integral part of the education system both by schools and by parents,” said Yao.

“Sport is a way of character education. I believe that team sports teach the young kids communication, teamwork, respect for the rules, and also how you face frustration from when you lose.

“Only when the society are aware of the vital role that sport can play can China succeed in the ‘big ball’ events (soccer, basketball, volleyball), which requires a vast pool of talents,” he added.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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