[CT] Elite Chinese Athletes Redefine Foreign Exchange Experience at UW

The Capital Times — December 16, 2010

“Elite Chinese Athletes Redefine Foreign Exchange Experience at UW”

That’s what sets apart the university’s pilot Chinese Champions program, a collaboration with Beijing Sport University that this week “graduates” its first class and recently was renewed for the next three years.

The nine participants, a mixture of athletes and coaches whose resumes are packed with Olympic medals and world championships, didn’t play a single snap, run a single race or swim a single lap for the Badgers this fall. Instead, they took part in a rigorous academic and cultural immersion program aimed at preparing them to become international leaders in athletics, while also developing their English-speaking skills.

Along the way, the word “Wisconsin” was introduced to roughly 20 million Chinese people thanks to publicity the program received in the homeland and locally, according to the university.

“This is a special experience for us,” says one of the participating students, Luo Xuejuan, a former swimmer who won a gold medal in the 100-meter breaststroke at the 2004 Summer Olympics in Athens, and had the honor of serving as the first person from her country to carry the Olympic torch prior to the 2008 Beijing Games.

Read the complete article.

Chinese Champions Program Farewell Party: December 5, 2010

Photo by Pauline Zhu, Division of International Studies