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Foreign legion plays role in winning campaign

By Sun Xiaochen  (China Daily)

13:49, August 07, 2012

Daniel Morelon, French coach of China's women's cycling team. (China Daily/Cui Meng)

They could be dubbed the sporting foreign legion and, appropriately, French coach Daniel Levavasseur is one of them.

He helped the women's epee team win an Olympic gold medal on Saturday and is one of more than 20 foreign coaches hired to help Chinese athletes hunt for gold, silver and bronze.

The strategy has been pretty successful, so far.

China, along with the US, heads the medal table, and foreign coaches have helped Chinese athletes conquer the world in sports normally associated with the West.

But winning formulas do not happen overnight. It takes years of blood, sweat and tears and trust must be established.

Juan Jane Giralt, the Spanish coach of the women's water polo team, said that trust is the very first step to success.

"There may be too much emphasis on gold medals and too much hard, hard work," Giralt, told China Daily on Friday. Sometimes it feels as if you are expected to win gold, and nothing else will do, he said.

Dubbed the "water polo godfather", the Spaniard carried great expectations to London after driving the little-fancied squad to a historic silver medal at the World Championships in Shanghai last year.

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