Chinese sports stars, with their brilliant achievements and natural athletic talent, can pursue further studies at China’s most prestigious colleges without taking the ‘Gaokao’, or the National College Entrance Examination.
Some athletes study rigorously and graduate with top honors from university, while some have found it hard to pass various examinations required during tertiary education. Even more have had to quit college for failing to complete their curriculums even after six or more years of study.
Athletes attending college without taking the ‘Gaokao’ have triggered a heated debate across the country. Some netizens say it’s one way for Chinese universities to spot talented students, while some believe it’s an unfair advantage.
The following are ten of the most popular sports stars favored by China’s most renowned universities:
Dai Feifei, Peking University 戴菲菲，北京大学
Dubbed the most beautiful girl in Chinese sports, 27-year old Dai Feifei is now teaching at Peking University, where she received dual degrees after studying at the College of Journalism and Communications and the School of Arts. She’s also an actress and model. She won two gold medals with her team in rhythmic gymnastics at the 21st World Universiade held in Beijing in 2011, and the gold in rhythmic gymnastics at the 9th National Games in Guangdong, 2001. Read more :
Liu Xiang, East China Normal University 刘翔，华东师范大学
110-meter hurdler Liu Xiang, the first Chinese athlete to achieve the “triple crown” of athletics: World Record Holder, World Champion and Olympic Champion, enrolled at East China Normal University in 2005 for a 5-year integrated master’s and doctoral degree program in Sports Administration. Liu also graduated from the College of Law and Politics with a bachelor’s degree. The 29-year-old “Flying Man” has a tutoring team of ten professors to ensure he can make the grades required for graduation.
Mo Huilan, Renmin University 莫慧兰，人民大学
32-year-old Mo Huilan is a retired Chinese gymnast who was best recognized for her performance on the uneven bars, where she staged her amazing version of the Gaylord Salto, now known as the “Mo Salto” in the Gymnastics’Code of Points. Mo enrolled as a journalism major at Renmin University in 1998. Mo is now a sports journalist, commentator and hostess at Phoenix Television.
Liu Xuan, Peking University 刘璇，北京大学
33-year-old Liu Xuan, China’s first Olympic Champion on balance beam and first All-Around Medalist pursued further study at the School of Journalism and Communication at Peking University between 2001 and 2005. Liu, known as the “Gymnast Queen”, leads a fruitful life after retirement. She is now an actress and hostess for TVB, the first wireless commercial television station in Hong Kong. Read more :
Ding Junhui, Shanghai Jiao Tong University 丁俊晖, 上海交大
Ding Junhui, China’s most successful professional snooker player ever, was admitted at Shanghai Jiao Tong University to study Business Administration and Management in December 2006. The 25-year-old young man, often referred to as “the Oriental Star”, once triggered heated debates with his words that “it’s useless to receive education.” Ding’s enrollment as a middle-school dropout also generated a great deal of controversy.
Yao Ming, Shanghai Jiao Tong University 姚明，上海交大
Yao Ming, considered by many as the best-known and most popular Chinese athlete in the world, is a retired Chinese professional basketball player who played center for the Houston Rockets in the NBA from 2002 to 2011. After his retirement in July 2011, the eight-time all-Star was recruited at the Antai College of Economics & Management at Shanghai Jiao Tong University as a full-time student in November 2011. Yao, who now operates two companies, is also boss of his former Chinees basketball team the Shanghai Sharks. In fact, Yao registered at the university in 2001, but stayed on campus only for one year, as he was too busy at that time.
Fu Mingxia, Tsinghua University 伏明霞，清华大学
34-year-old Fu Mingxia, a top-class female diver, multiple Olympic gold medalist and world champion, began her study at the College of Economics and Management, Tsinghua University in 1997, but only graduated there in 2004 until she completed all curriculums. The university formulated a special teaching program for Fu, who hadn’t finished her primary school education as she began her diving training at nine-years-old. The diving queen married Antony Leung, former Financial Secretary of the Hong Kong SAR government, in July 2002, and is now a mother of three children, two sons and one daughter.