MARQUETTE, Mich. – Ten days ago, a delegation made up of women freestyle wrestlers, Chinese boxers, and Greco-Roman wrestlers landed at Marquette’s (Michigan) Saywer International Airport en route to the U.S. Olympic Education Center for a camp and competition billed as ‘China vs. USOEC’ held Tuesday October 23, 2007 at Northern Michigan University.
Although the ‘China vs. USOEC’ competition, held in NMU’s Berry Events Center was a huge success, the everlasting memories of the Chinese visiting the Upper Peninsula malls, schools, NMU classes, community is what leaves an indelible imprint. They say a picture is worth a thousand words and I believe a smile is worth much more than that.
The eternal smiles that the three Chinese national champion female wrestlers (Liang Yue, Ge Zhen, Wang Lie) gave seemed to invigorate the USOEC freestyle wrestlers in training and shopping and being young women on a college campus. The challenge of learning about a different culture or different people or wrestling all seemed so easy because of the pristine personalities of Liang, Ge, and Wang.
Chinese wrestlers, who have placed ahead of USA at the last three World Championships as a team, seemed to be robots just following orders, perhaps, because of their success, rumors, or just self-made biases. Nonetheless, Liang, Ge, and Wang each had their own styles of wrestling and were very open and sharing when it came to showing and telling how to execute wrestling skills.
The language barrier was weakened by gentle hand gestures and more showing then telling. These Chinese wrestlers knew how to make a point without confusing and quickly the USOEC wrestlers found it simple to communicate with Liang, Ge, and Wang.
The smiles, hard work, and determination from the Chinese wrestlers were evident and welcome gift to athletes training year round at a U.S. Olympic Education Center. This could be true because some athletes will tell you, ‘training year round can become boring’ and when a competition or training camp is available all of sudden minds seem to mend.
There are plans for the Chinese contingent to make a return visit to Marquette, MI in 2008 following the Olympics in Beijing, China next summer and perhaps “A Chinese Wrestling Affair” can become and annual event at the USOEC.
For images of the training camp participated by both the USOEC & China teams, please view below slideshow.
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