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IOC chief says "no problem" with China's sports system
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16:27, August 24, 2008

Jacques Rogge, President of the International Olympic Committee (IOC), defended China's sports system which led to its medal haul at the Beijing Games, saying all systems are legitimate as long as they respect ethical values and the athletes.

The host nation has topped the gold medal table at the Games for the first time with 50 golds, leaving the United States well in its wake.

Chinese sports officials attributed the success to a nationwide system of selecting and training talent, and some questioned if such a system goes against the Olympic spirit.

"I think it's absolutely legitimate to have an ethical detection system. There's no problem with that," Rogge told a press conference.

"And by the way, most countries do that on different measures. Some do it in a very scientific way, others do it by bringing athletes together and organizing competitions and seeing who naturally emerges.

"If you look around the world, all the successful countries have national training centers in all the sports. All the countries in the world bring together the best athletes and get the scientific training. The bottom line is the respect the ethical values and the respect of the athletes," he added.

The IOC chief said China's advantage is its large population which makes it far easier to select best potential athletes.

"It's of course far easier to select 20 very tall athletes from China. It's population difference," he said.

Regarding the latest tally, Rogge rated more the evolution from Athens to Beijing, other than merely the number of medals won by delegations here.

"I think the evolutions better show the influence of countries and regions," he said. "In Athens the United States had 102 medals and in Beijing they have 107. Russia won 92 in Athens, and here 69. China had 63 in Athens and 96 in Beijing with 49 gold...Briton is the most improved nation they have 30 with 9 golds in Athens and 47 with 19 golds in Beijing."

The total number of countries and regions that have won medals has increased from 74 in Athens to 96 in Beijing, to which the IOC chief was very pleased but declined to comment on the performance of each one.

"I doubted I have to give comment on the different levels of countries (and regions), this is for experts to decide, especially by the team leaders and experts themselves," he said.

"The result of another issue is that China won the most gold medal as a whole of 49, and the United States with the most medals as the total tally counts. I think each country has the highlights as the athletes give the best of high level performance," added Rogge.

Source: Xinhua

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1 China 51 21 28 100
2 USA 36 38 36 110
3 Russia 23 21 28 72
4 Great Britain 19 13 15 47
5 Germany 16 10 15 41
6 Australia 14 15 17 46
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