The Chinese swimming team is looking to make a splash at the 2016 Rio Olympic Games, setting the bar higher than its success in London.
China won a total of five gold medals, three silvers and four bronzes in swimming and synchronized swimming during the 2012 Summer Games. Chinese swimming team leader Xu Qi revealed this week that the team is targeting at even a better performance for next year.
“We have put up a banner at our training center that reads “Miracle in London, Glory in Rio.” We hope our performance will surpass that in London,” Xu said at a signing ceremony in Shanghai to mark the collaboration between his team and web portal NetEase (163.com).
NetEase has reportedly invested more than 30 million yuan (US$4.7 million) in a five-year deal to become the swimming team’s sponsor, and will cover the athletes’ training, competition and stay in Rio during next year’s Olympics. Red-hot world champion Ning Zetao has also become NetEase’s image ambassador.
Ning’s stunning victory in the men’s 100-meter freestyle at the world championships in Kazan, Russia, in August, as well as his sunny disposition, have made him a new national idol as well as a popular target for commercial sponsors. However, according to the team’s regulation, all its athletes should get prior approval before getting involved in advertising or commercial activities. The team will also get a share in athletes’ commercial income.
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