Historically, China's attitude about competition in sports has been anything but relaxed. Just like the Asian nation's seriousness towards other fields like education, scientific development, and military prowess, the Chinese public has been taking competition very seriously, particularly when it comes to the Olympics. While victories in the form of gold medals are seen as a boost to national pride, consolation prizes and bronze medals have been looked down upon while losing all together has been publicly shamed.

How the Chinese train and choose their athletes 

Discipline, mastery of skill and repetition seem to be the basic principles involved in athletic training in China, with any kind of fooling around seen as unethical and is therefore highly discouraged.

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This is obviously in contrast with how USA, UK and other top contenders perceive competition; particularly with respect to sharing lighter moments during training, as trainers mostly view the goofing around as being positive for team building.

Also peculiar is the pyramid-like hierarchical system that exists in the Chinese education system to train athletes. Instead of simply allowing young people to follow their passion; physical features and the prospects of winning seem to be the main factors that influence selection to compete Olympics. For instance, China's Yi Shwen, 400 metre medley gold medalist, was selected for swimming merely because her disproportionately huge hands and feet were thought to give her an advantage at winning. 

All this points towards an obsession towards winning that has historically brought much criticism to Chinese sports.

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However, at this year's summer Olympics, there is a somewhat new face of China's changing national attitude towards competition. 

How Fu Yuanhui breaks the stereotype of the Chinese Athlete

In total contrast to the established stereotype surrounding the Chinese athlete who is dead serious, boring and focused on winning the gold, Fu Yuanhui, China's new swimming sensation has shown a totally new face of competition to the world. The outspoken, funny and cheerful young woman has taken social media by storm with comments like "I'm so fast" after winning a bronze at the olympics. 

What makes Fu Yuanhui so popular in today's China

From what Chinese netizens have expressed on their social media accounts - particularly Sina Weibo, they seem to really appreciate the welcome change in the form of an athlete who is so laid back and funny. Particularly instrumental in propelling Yuanhui to fame with the Chinese Public is her laid back attitude and blunt coments that seem to be unaffected by finishing with a bronze medal.

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Yuanhui's reaction to her own swim at the 100 meter backstroke last Wednesday came with these words:“Whoooaah! I was so fast!”. Also, in a rather unexpected fashion she made funny comments about her own swimming skills, referring to her "prehistoric skills" and the fact that she had used al her "mystical energy". Having become an internet sweetheart, her fans are increasing by the day and keep putting up cartoons that resemble the swimmer. 

What this means for other Chinese athletes

Well, this could actually be good news for other Chinese athletes as historically they have been under a lot of pressure. As Chinese society grows more accepting of athletes who do not manage to win the gold, athletes can focus on enjoying the game and relishing in participation. Besides, as stress levels drops, this could actually fetch the country more gold medals in the future.

Olympics losing the zing factor

While many would like to believe that Chinese attitudes towards comptetion are really changing, there are experts who say it's the Olympics that are losing the esteem and fervour after 120 years. Could that be the real reason for athletes from the most strictly disciplinarian nations showing a laid back attitude? Perhaps these could be tell tale signs of the Olympics' fading light. #Rio 2016 #China Rio 2016 #Athletics