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China TV show to pick Olympic coxes

8 October 2006

It has been reported that China is using a reality TV show to select coxes for the national men’s and women’s rowing eights at the 2008 Olympic Games.

A 14 episode series will feature 20 male and female finalists selected from Chinese citizens across the globe. The applicants need no rowing experience and are required to be between 18-60 years of age and healthy.

2004 Athens cox, Michael Toon finds the concept slightly insulting “implying that Joe Nobody could do it and only a crash course is required to learn the skills.”

On the flip side, he also finds it quite amusing. “It’s a novel way to promote the sport and the only position at the Olympic Games whereby you could select an athlete and not compromise the performance of team.”

The format of the show allows viewers to vote their favourite contestants into later rounds, however the final cuts are decided by national coaches and team members.

There is potential for more reality TV shows following Toon’s suggestion to film athlete selection across a number of different sports. Stay tuned.

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Michael Toon

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