The development of elite cycling in China: 1992-2012

Jinming ZHENG*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)


By analyzing China’s approaches to elite cycling, this paper seeks to answer the question why the bicycle kingdom failed to produce any Olympic cycling champions. Many factors could explain China’s lack of medal success on the international stage, ranging from the limited degree of organizational specialization, problems regarding the quantity and quality of domestic coaches, to the lack of influence in the international governing body and more importantly the tension between the national team and provincial teams. However, there have been a series of developments contributing to China’s notable progress in cycling in the 2000s in general and in the London Olympiad in particular, the most important of which were the recruitment of world-leading coaches and the organization of overseas training. All these culprits and positive developments are discussed, not only to explain China’s overall poor medal performance in cycling at the Olympic Games yet with some gradual progress in recent years, but also to provide a representative through which China’s approaches to many non-traditional and less-successful sports can be understood. Four semi-structured interviews were conducted, accompanied by comprehensive document analysis derived from official documents and website information of associated sports governing bodies and influential media in China.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)586-606
Number of pages21
JournalInternational Journal of the History of Sport
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 23 Mar 2016

Scopus Subject Areas

  • History
  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)

User-Defined Keywords

  • China
  • Elite cycling
  • Poor performance
  • Recent progress
  • Sport policy


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