Visitors to China can't help but be struck by the contrasts evident on the sports scene, but few are as stark as the one between the elderly man above, performing the ancient Chinese ritual of tai chi on the Bund in Shanghai, and the young cyclist at left, who is preparing for a motocross race, a newfangled Western event, in a stadium in Beijing. Though tai chi is Called a martial art, it is a pacific pastime that can be safely undertaken anywhere, while motorcycling is all but banned on the streets of Beijing in the hope of curtailing the ungodly rate of traffic fatalities. Given its massive population and poverty, wouldn't China be well advised to pursue only simple and inexpensive sports like tai chi? Perhaps, but as the People's Republic has found in opening Chinese society to foreign influence in other areas of life, the modern world's allure is irresistible. Why should that of Western sports be any different?
A YOUNG HE-MAN PREPARES TO LIFT AT A BEIJING SPORTS SCHOOL, WHILE SWIMMERS IN WUHAN OPT FOR AN EASIER REGIMEN
SPEED ROLLER SKATING MAY BE GREAT, BUT IT'S NOT ABOUT TO REPLACE ACROBATICS IN CHINA'S HEART
THOUGH SUNDAY BOATING IS DANDY WITHOUT PADDLES, IN PING-PONG THEY'RE SIMPLY INDISPENSABLE
THESE BOYS TRAIN IN ONE OF CHINA'S NEW INDOOR POOLS, WHILE A CLIMBER MUST MAKE DO WITH A MOST ANCIENT FACILITY