Students have a tough life. Or so they tell us. But spare a thought for students in China who are being forced to have skiing lessons. Yes, you read that right. The Chinese government has decided that, as its going to host the Winter Olympics in four years’ time, it has enough time left to find some budding skiers who could help them win some medals there too.
According to a recent article in ‘The Times’, the Government plan “is to get as many as 300 million people on to the ski slopes and ice rinks by the start of the Olympics to ensure that stadiums are full”. Yes, you read that right too, 300 million!
The Chinese are nothing if not far sighted, so first year students attending the Zhangjiakou University (the Chinese city that will host the Games) are being told to break up their studies with mandatory skiing lessons. The university hopes that as many as 20,000 students will take up skiing lessons and the idea then is that up to 100 students will emerge who can master the piste sufficiently to win gold.
A further 1,000 students are expected to work at the Games as translators, tour guides and in marketing.
Zhangjiakou is 120 miles away from the Capital Beijing and although there is ni infrastructure in place yet for the Games, Government planners insist they will have all the necessary venues, motorways and a high-speed rail link, completed within a year.
Chinese students also have to do a year’s military service so we’re assuming that any Chinese equivalents of ‘Eddie the Eagle’ that don’t soar as expected can expect to spend that year peeling potatoes.