The significance of hosting the 2008 Olympic Games for elite sport and sport for all in China
thesisposted on 05.05.2010, 08:32 by Weiming Wang
This thesis explores the significance of hosting the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games (OGs) on elite sport and sport for all development in China. The impacts of the OGs have received significant attention from both academics and practitioners worldwide in the last 20 years and attention has been predominantly paid to political, cultural, economic, and environmental impacts of hosting them, especially as these emerge after the event. However, little concern was given to changes in the host country s sport development that are due to games related preparations. This study identifies the characteristics of the sport system, the policy actors, and how such actors were involved in preparations for the 2008 OGs, and it also outlines the development of policy concerning elite sport and sport for all. A case study approach was adopted focusing on the 2008 OGs. Adopting a qualitative methodology, the study utilised document analysis and semi-structured interviews to elicit data regarding the significance of preparations for the 2008 OGs on elite sport and sport for all. Globalisation, governance and policy making were found to be useful lenses through which to explore the processes of the emergence of such impacts. This thesis found that central government and the General Administration of Sport (GAOS) were the two most powerful policy actors in both elite sport and sport for all development in China, and made decisions as regards how to develop China s sport taking the opportunities of hosting the 2008 OGs. The research reveals that preparations for the 2008 OGs have various impacts on the elite sport and sport for all sectors. On one hand, the impacts can be witnessed in increased funding, more attention received from central government and GAOS, more sport policies, increased number of sport venues, new and updated facilities and equipment, technological, scientific and medical support, and increased sport participation; on the other hand, through providing such support, GAOS exerted its control over non-governmental organisations and individuals, such as via the restrictions by GAOS on athletes commercial activities, and national competitions. The research found evidence that globalisation had influenced China s general governance (including sport governance) process since the 1970s, with governance becoming more privatised and decentralised. However, sport governance took a different path after China won the bid in 2001. Against the backdrop of decentralisation having been previously officially adopted for Chinese sport governance, the research revealed that in pursuit of the aim of winning more medals in the 2008 OGs temporarily recentralisation occurred as required by central government and GAOS. The research also revealed that increased numbers of policies were produced to develop both elite sport and sport for all, however the interests of the public had not always been satisfied because of China's closed policy making process. Therefore, some impacts had not turned out as expected for the public.
- Sport, Exercise and Health Sciences