Chinese champions start new life in US

Updated: 2011-05-09 17:19

By Liu Shanshan (

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Chinese champions start new life in US

Chinese champion athletes attend an English language class of the Education Department at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, in Madison city, Wisconsin, United States, April 25, 2011. [Photo/Xinhua]

A group of elite Chinese athletes, including multiple world champions and Olympic medal winners and one coach, have started a new life in the United States as university students.

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The sixteen Chinese champions, including table tennis legend Zhang Yining, world's leading badminton player Gong Rina and Han Xiaopeng, China's first male gold medalist at the Winter Olympics, will spend nearly nine months living and studying at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, in a program jointly funded jointly by the university and the Chinese government.

The student-athletes come from varied sport arenas, including taekwondo, judo, weightlifting, badminton, swimming, skiing, curling, kayaking, and also coaching wrestling. Table tennis player Zhang Yining is among the best known.

As the second group in the university's partnership with Beijing Sport University, the champion athletes will study coaching, sports management and administration to prepare for post-competition careers after their retirement.

They will also study the English language and interact with US students and sports communities before they go to different campuses for their preferred majors.

Their classes will include a focus on English as a second language, kinesiology, physical education instruction, dance, American and western history; visits to historical sites in Wisconsin and across the US; and athletic experience via the University's Athletic Department.

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