Skip to main content

The Globe and Mail

In pictures: China's future Olympic champions

The Shichahai Sports School in Beijing was established in 1958, during a decade in which newly communist China copied much from the Soviet Union, including its sports system, and is the biggest sports boarding school in the Chinese capital with around 600 students and 80 coaches training in ten different sports.

1 of 17

A young gymnast hangs from gymnastic rings in front of a Chinese national flag during a gymnastics class for children aged between seven and ten at the Shichahai Sports School in Beijing. The school has approximately 600 students and 80 coaches training in ten different sports.

David Gray/REUTERS/David Gray/REUTERS

2 of 17

Young gymnasts stand together as a classmate hangs from gymnastic rings in front of a Chinese national flag. Children are handpicked from around China and sent to be trained as the next generation of Olympic champions for sports including table tennis, badminton, weightlifting, gymnastics, volleyball, boxing and tae kwon do.

David Gray/REUTERS/David Gray/REUTERS

3 of 17

A young gymnast stretches with her classmates. About half the students pay their own way with the other half, called 'professional reserves,' having all their training, academic and accommodation expenses covered by the state.

David Gray/REUTERS/David Gray/REUTERS

4 of 17

A young gymnast hangs from an uneven bar during a gymnastics class.

David Gray/REUTERS/David Gray/REUTERS

Story continues below advertisement

5 of 17

A young gymnast hangs from a bar above a pit filled with foam rubber during a gymnastics class for children aged between seven and ten at the Shichahai Sports School in Beijing.

David Gray/REUTERS/David Gray/REUTERS

6 of 17

Young gymnasts prepare to practise their floor exercises during a gymnastics class.

David Gray/REUTERS/David Gray/REUTERS

7 of 17

A young gymnast steps off a table used to reach gymnastic rings during a gymnastics class.

David Gray/REUTERS/David Gray/REUTERS

8 of 17

A young gymnast hangs from gymnastic rings in front of a Chinese national flag.

David Gray/REUTERS/David Gray/REUTERS

9 of 17

A coach holds a young gymnast hanging from gymnastic rings as another trains on the parallel bars during a gymnastics class.

David Gray/REUTERS/David Gray/REUTERS

10 of 17

A young gymnast catches her breath during a gymnastics class for children aged between seven and ten at the Shichahai Sports School in Beijing.

David Gray/REUTERS/David Gray/REUTERS

11 of 17

A coach holds onto a young gymnast during a gymnastics class for children.

David Gray/REUTERS/David Gray/REUTERS

12 of 17

Young gymnasts wait for their turn on various apparatus during a gymnastics class.

David Gray/REUTERS/David Gray/REUTERS

13 of 17

A coach talks to students as another hits a shot during a table tennis class at the Shichahai Sports School in Beijing.

David Gray/REUTERS/David Gray/REUTERS

14 of 17

A young student collects table tennis balls during a class at the Shichahai Sports School in Beijing.

David Gray/REUTERS/David Gray/REUTERS

15 of 17

A coach watches as a student hits a shot during a table tennis class at the Shichahai Sports School in Beijing.

David Gray/REUTERS/David Gray/REUTERS

16 of 17

A coach reaches for more table tennis balls as he watches students practice during a table tennis class.

David Gray/REUTERS/David Gray/REUTERS

17 of 17

Two students practise together during a table tennis class at the Shichahai Sports School in Beijing.

David Gray/REUTERS/David Gray/REUTERS

Report an error
Combined Shape Created with Sketch.

Combined Shape Created with Sketch.

Thank you!

You are now subscribed to the newsletter at

You can unsubscribe from this newsletter or Globe promotions at any time by clicking the link at the bottom of the newsletter, or by emailing us at privacy@globeandmail.com.