Thursday, February 28, 2008

Not Quite Role Models

A Chinese diver and her coach are under fire for their behaviour during the FINA Diving World Cup last week.

Guo Jingjing and her teammate Wu Minxia easily clinched the women's synchronized 3m springboard last Sunday at the National Aquatic Center, or Water Cube.

But during the press conference, Guo hardly illuminated reporters with her thoughts, only speaking a total of 20 words to answer four questions.

Her coach Zhou Gang defended the 22-year-old diver, asking the media "for their understanding" and that Guo was "under great pressure".

But a Xinhua article criticized the coach for overprotecting the diver. Other media chimed in, calling Guo "arrogant" and "impolite" when she refused to elaborate and cooperate with reporters.

"It's a shame for us," said Zhang Lei from West China City Daily. "We could have very good communications with divers from other countries. Every one of them is so friendly and willing to share their feeling with us.

"But look at our divers like Guo - it's like we owe something to her, like we are begging for something from her. And she also showed impatience with us."

"As a professional athlete she represents not only herself, but the team, the sport and even the country," Xinhua said.

"No matter how brilliant her achievements or how popular she is, she still needs to ... respect others."

Another warned Chinese coaches have to teach their athletes how to deal with the media, especially with the Olympics coming up.

So while the venues are practically ready, volunteers are practicing smiling non-stop, and the government doing its bit to try to ease air pollution, the athletes will need to do some media training before August.

If they want to be seen as ambassadors for their country, which is also hosting the big international event, then these athletes will have to learn how to be gracious too.

After all, isn't that what the Olympics is all about?

Otherwise, as Xinhua says, "If they still behave like what they did last week during the 2008 Beijing Olympics, they will be laughed at by viewers worldwide."

1 comment:

ks said...

true, celebrities should behave in a certain manner for public relations. but the public should forgive and understand them on occasions because of some unspeakable private stresses they are under. may be guo jing jing is having her pms for example, thus so rude and moody. she is a human being. i find nowadays the press is rather cruel.