Perhaps the most notable Asian athlete in the world didn't participate in the 2012 London Olympics. But new Houston Rockets point guard Jeremy Lin does have some advice for China (who finished second to the United States after winning the gold medal count in Beijing) ensuring greater success from their athletes in future Olympics: Have more fun!
Laurie Burkett and Sandra Hu of the Wall Street Journal had this report from Lin's trip to China.
The soft-spoken NBA player told Chinese media Thursday in Beijing, during his first visit to the Chinese capital, that Chinese face a lot of pressure to perform, but he recommends that children take part in sports for passion and pleasure.
"Fall in love with the game," Lin said in a press briefing.
The Houston Rockets player’s message comes as a flurry of discussion has emerged from the London Olympics, scrutinizing the pressure Chinese athletes face in attempting to feed their nation’s insatiable appetite for Olympic gold. Earlier, 23-year-old weightlifter Wu Jingbiao publicly apologized to Chinese TV audiences for bringing home a silver, not gold, medal. "I feel terribly sorry for my country, China’s weightlifting team and everyone that supports me," Wu said, fighting back tears.
Lin's success as a pro really clashes with the tradition of the Chinese state nurturing and developing athletes from their youth. Lin's ability to become a breakout NBA star stemmed from his own organic growth and development, but ultimately it was his choice to pursue his dreams. His decision could help inspire a new generation of Asian athletes both overseas and back home in America.
It does feel like finding your passion and latching onto it always seems to work a lot better than trying to instill a love in a sport. The growth would seem to work better organically rather than drilled into a young individual methodically, wouldn't you think?
"I want every kid to leave the camp feeling like they had really fun time, like they can’t wait to go back home and continue to play."