Tuesday, August 16, 2011

中国短道速滑队 is a mess

According to 新浪体育北京时间815日消息,国家体育局冬季运管理中心15日夜宣布,整短道速滑队领队王春露的工作位,离国家短道

The direct cause is obviously the brawl.  It is probably the worst ever PR disaster in Chinese sports and might be an extension from the earlier brawl.  There has never been an incident of a similar scale from any other national teams with better or worse achievements.  It reveals problems with how the short track team was run and characteristics of certain coach/skaters/manager.  

There are many unanswered questions.  What we have learned is what 王濛 said, what 李琰 said, and what some other people said.  We never heard what 王春露 said directly about the episode, although there is speculation that 王春露 was the source of some media reports.  Nobody appeared 100% innocent, but in short, we don’t know both sides of the stories.

But based on what we do know from , 王濛drank, cursed, threatened people, beat people, and damaged properties, which should have earned her a jail time, not simply a dismissal from the national team. She showed a total disrespect to the laws and other people and no brain whatsoever during the incident.  王濛 was like running a mafia and the real boss of the team.  She has perhaps 5 core supporters, and all the other, younger skaters must obey her or else.  Even the coaches and manager were afraid of her some times.  Right after the dismissal, 王濛 threatened to expose some sponsorship and drug scandals, although she didn’t follow up.  I am all for the disclosures: she or anyone with real evidence should come forward to say whatever is wrong with the team.  In fact, one would have earned more respect if saying it while still with the team. The relevant government agencies should look into the accusations, although it would be hard to get deeper without cooperation.

Another troubling aspect is the division between 李琰 and 王春露, mostly from what 李琰 said.  李琰 complained about王春露’s involvement in the training and how王春露 dealt with the skaters and money.  These problems between 李琰 and 王春露 aren't even directly related to the brawl.  We don’t know the real story because王春露 has been silent.  It seems, however, a lot of complaints李琰 could have raised directly with 王春露 before.  If she did, I am curious of what 王春露 responded.  Did 王春露 give a good explanation?  If so, why did 李琰 keep talking?  If not, why didn’t 李琰 complain to a higher up?   She has had plenty of time.  李琰 apparently complained to王濛 a lot, but did 李琰 try to solve the problem with 王春露 or not? 

王春露 should answer many of the accusations directly, although it seems unlikely, as she remains with the sport agency, just no longer a manager.  There is a clear problem with the way she works with 李琰 and some skaters, although not everybody.  Still, the public has the right to know how the national team operates and uses its money.

As it stands, the apparent real winner is李琰, loser is 王春露.  王濛 might receive only token punishment and return sooner rather than later, but only time will tell.  But unless王濛 emerges truly a better person, I don’t like the future of the team.  The public deserves a better representation, gold medals be damned.  

While 李琰 is the biggest winner, she is the one I am the most disappointed with here.  I knew her name since the late 1980s.   She was a great skater, and the Olympics didn’t incorporate short track soon enough.  She also worked in the North America for a long time, so I expect that she would be able to deal with people and the media in a more straightforward manner.  Largely speculative at this point, yet from the media reports, she seems to talk behind people’s back instead of working out the differences openly, and like to talk about people instead of what really happened.  For example, if what 王濛 complained about王春露’s public explanations about the brawl was valid, why didn’t 李琰 work with王濛 and 王春露 earlier?  李琰’s husband was with 王濛 out drinking, and 李琰 was present during the drawl, but what did she do at the time, and why didn’t she say anything earlier and specifically about what really happened that night or morning?

Purely speculative, 李琰 may be afraid of 王濛, and to a lesser extent, her core supporters in the team.  She absolutely depends on them to perform well in 2014, and this further emboldens 王濛’s gangs. Now that王春露 is gone, 李琰 has no more excuse.  Can 李琰 deliver?  I am not optimistic.  Regardless of 王濛’s status, 李琰 needs to develop younger skaters.  Perhaps two years has been or will be wasted before anything good will happen. 

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