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85.Zhang Boling: the First Advocator of Olympics in China    2008-09-22 13:51

The 29th Summer Olympic Games opened inBeijing on August 8, 2008. Chinese Olympicdream of one century finally came true andpeople could not help recalling Mr. Zhang Boling,the first advocator of Olympics in China.

Zhang Boling was born in Tianjin in 1876. He wasthe founder and first president of Nankai Schoolas well as the pioneer of Chinese Olympics. Hismost important contribution to education issports. Among the educators in Chinese modernhistory, no body but Zhang Boling couldlove sports and know sports so well.

On education, he contended several times thatthe goal of education was to save the nation andeducation could transform the Chinese society.The key was: “Transform her morality, transformher intelligence and transform her physique”.He said that: “Among morality, intelligence andphysique, physique is the weakest in Chineseeducation”, “If we want to strengthen our nation;firstly we must strengthen our body.”

According to some materials, Zhang Bolingtook his students to participate in the sportsgames held by youth league in Nanshi. In hisadvocacy, Nankai School set up fitness classof 2 hours every Wednesday. On such schoolcollections, students could learn sports knowledgeand skills. And this class became the toolfor Zhang Boling to spread the sports spirit.

In 1907, Zhang Boling made a speech whichcould be written into the Chinese Olympic Annals.His speech made Chinese people knowwhat were Olympics and the Olympic Gameswhich only started 10 years ago. He thus wonthe reputation of “the first advocator of Olympicsin China.”

In the same year, he said in the fifth TianjinInter-School sports games that: “The successof this sports games makes me full of hope toour athletes for the Olympic Games in the nearfuture…Our nation should form a sports teamto Olympic Games.”

This sonorously powerful speech became thefirst summon for China to the Olympics. OnOctober 9-13, 1909, Nankai Middle School andTianjin Christianity Youth League held jointlyan annual sports game. In the award ceremony,he introduced the details of London OlympicGames to the students. In order to spread theOlympic spirits, he initiated the first Sports AllianceGames with the aim of Olympic Games,which was also the first National Sports Gamesin China.

In order to promote the Olympic spirits inChina, Zhang Boling and some internationalfriends set up Far East Amateur Sports Associationand held Far East Sports Games. Allthe work in this game was in line with the standardsof Olympic committee. From the name“Far East Olympic Games”, people could seehis deep Olympic complex.

After 7 years, in 1920, Far East Sports Gamesbecame the first regionally international sportsorganization which was authorized by InternationalOlympic Committee. In 1924, ChineseAmateur Sports Federation and Chinese SportsAssociation merged Chinese National SportsAssociation and Zhang Boling was selected asthe honorary president.

Chinese National Sports Association promotedand completed the great plan of China to joinin the Olympic family. In 1928, on the suggestionof Zhang Boling, Chinese National SportsAssociation sent out representatives to attendthe 9th International Olympic Committee. In1931, International Olympic Committee formallyacknowledged it as Chinese Olympic Committee,which selected athletes to participatein 10th and 11th Olympic Games. Although theresults were not so good, the significance wasgreat. Chinese athletes presented in world topfield and Chinese representatives stepped upthe honorary seating stage for the first time.Under the Olympic flag, Chinese athletes competedwith contestants from other countriesfor the first time also. Chinese Olympic historycame into a new stage.

The president of International Olympic CommitteeJacques Rogge spoke highly of Mr.Zhang Boling for his “unremitting efforts andoutstanding contribution to realize and promoteOlympic spirits in China”.    Editor: Zhao Jing
Preparatory & Coordination Committee of Annual Meeting of the New Champions 2008