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02 March 2022, 17:38

Stars of tomorrow

Photo: chinadaily.com.cn
Photo: chinadaily.com.cn

BEIJING, 2 March (BelTA - China Daily) - TV show gets young participants to learn about winter sports, Xu Fan reports.

Millions of Chinese children are estimated to have watched the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics broadcast as an unforgettable memory during their winter vacation. Yang Huayue, an 8-year-old boy from the capital city, is among the few who got invited to a TV program to celebrate Spring Festival and the Games.

As one of the dozens of children invited on Dong'ao Zhongguo Nian ("Chinese year of the Winter Olympics"), a special television show produced by State broadcaster China Media Group, Huayue got the opportunity to try his hand on a bobsleigh made by Chinese engineers.

Bringing together veteran hosts, including Ju Ping, from two of China Central Television's channels specially for youth and sports fans, the program uses its seven episodes to introduce Winter Olympic sports-one each episode-from Alpine skiing to curling and ice hockey.

Boasting a stellar cast featuring former Olympic medalists and sports experts, the show blends professional commentary and fun games to popularize the rules and history of winter sports, according to the producers. Its stage is designed to look like a "hospitable neighborhood" to highlight a festive atmosphere.

"Spring Festival this year coincided with the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics, and that gave Chinese people double happiness," says Si Xiaofeng, the show's chief director.

China has motivated more than 300 million people to take up winter sports and ice and snow activities, which is a legacy of the Games, Si says, adding that the TV show was inspired by the aim to attract young audiences to winter sports.

"With a lot of surveys, our crew collected some common questions and tried to explain them on the show. For instance, curious audiences will understand why hockey pucks should be frozen before a game and the function of different types of skis," says Si.

A seasoned coach often secures a good start for most beginners. So, the list of instructors included some of the former best athletes, such as Zhou Yan, a former Olympic medalist curler, and Li Chengjiang, a six-time champion in men's singles figure skating at the national games.

Wang Yuji, 1 year old, stole everyone's heart, becoming the shining star in the program when the toddler rode on a skateboard, sliding onto the stage with her fluffy puppy.

The toddler's video has gone viral since her parents, who are both interested in winter sports, released a clip about her first snowboarding trip in Chongli district of Zhangjiakou, Hebei province, when she was 11 months old in November. The clip has garnered more than 5 million views, according to Chinese tech giant Tencent.

"A television program can play a pivotal role in promoting values and knowledge. So, we also featured a lot of funny elements, with some inspired by Chinese traditions and culture, to add to the show's appeal among young audiences," says Si.

Li Boting, an 11-year-old boy from Shanghai, also participated in the show.

While his original draw was Bing Dwen Dwen, the cute panda mascot of the Winter Olympics, Boting says he learned a lot about winter sports on the show. Through intriguing games, such as one inspired from biathlon, Li says he managed to understand how athletes refocus on their next discipline after finishing one intense competition.

"Now, I love winter sports. It's beautiful and charming. I think we can learn about the fighting spirit from the athletes," says Boting.

China launched the "double-reduction" policy to ease academic stress for students last year, and since then millions of families are placing more emphasis on sports, laying the foundation for the country to make use of the Olympic legacy, says Si.

The show is a good start to explore how to better raise youngsters' interest in winter sports, and could help them become "brave, strong, optimistic and open", says the director.

Currently, the show is available on CCTV's website after it concluded the first run on CCTV-14, a channel tailored for children, earlier last month.

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