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Foreign athletes carry "Chinese Elements" to win Chinese hearts
21:49, August 06, 2008

"I know these Chinese characters mean 'never give up'," Bulgarian rower Matin told Xinhua in the Shunyi Olympic Rowing-Canoeing Park on Wednesday.

Actually, quite some foreign athletes to compete at the Beijing Olympics have carried "Chinese Elements" with them in order to win the hearts of Chinese audience during their competitions. They had Chinese characters printed on their uniforms.

On the white T-shirts of New Zealand athletes, there is a three Chinese character translation of the island country. The red color helps make the Chinese characters shining in the sun and specially eye-catching.

"It means a mixing of the two cultures," New Zealand's kayak paddler Jones Luuka said outside the boathouse near the slalom water course in the park.

Poland, Germany, Switzerland and Canada also have Chinese characters printed on their athletes' T-shirts.

"Olympics is this time held in China. We want people to know where we are from," Canadian slalom team leader Michal Staniszewski said, adding that the three "8" printed on the back of their T-shirts and the front of their caps are designed to bring good luck to them because they represent blessings in the Chinese culture.

Jens Hahl from Germany said that their T-shirts were printed in the same way when they headed for the Athens Olympics four years before, in hopes of narrowing the gap between them and the foreign culture they found themselves in.

Some athletes said that they would wear uniforms carrying "Chinese elements" just in order to let Chinese audience shout or yell for them when their competition chances come.

Source: Xinhua

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