Elite sport development in China – structure and strategy

Jinming Zheng*

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Chapter in book/report/conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


    Elite sport has long been an, arguably, overriding priority of sport policy in Mainland China, and China’s notable elite sport achievements, most notably the Olympic gold medal success, have been one of the most noteworthy features of Chinese sport. Elite sport in China has been systematic rather than haphazard, following a centralised government-led system, namely the oft-quoted Juguo Tizhi (whole country support for elite sport system). Various policy documents and strategies have underpinned and propelled China’s rise as a superpower on the international elite sport stage. This chapter provides in-depth analysis of the underlying policy ‘secrets’ such as the Olympic Strategy, three versions of The Outline of the Strategic Olympic Glory Plan, and a series of specific policy documents published at various critical junctures particularly in the lead-up to the Beijing 2008 Summer Olympic Games, as well as China’s longstanding strategic planning, particularly the ‘Five-Word principle’ – ‘small, fast, women, water and agile’ sports, disciplines and events and Tian’s primarily physical-based/skill-based clustering theory. These have largely shaped China’s elite sport landscape and configuration and major sources of Olympic (gold) medals. However, China’s ability to sustain its advantage is confronting major challenges at the most recent Summer and Winter Olympic Games, which provide a note of pessimism, or at least caution on China’s (gold) medal performances at the forthcoming Olympics, most notably Tokyo 2020.
    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationSport Policy in China
    EditorsJinming Zheng, Shushu Chen, Tien-Chin Tan, Barrie Houlihan
    Place of PublicationOxon; New York
    Number of pages33
    ISBN (Electronic)9781315168234
    ISBN (Print)9781138051669, 9780367520151
    Publication statusPublished - 30 Aug 2018

    Publication series

    NameRoutledge Research in Sport Politics and Policy

    Scopus Subject Areas

    • Social Sciences(all)


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