Yao Ming has been quite visible at the Youth Olympics, and not just because he’s one of the tallest Olympians ever.
The Chinese basketball star toured Nanjing as a Youth Olympic ambassador. He stopped for a sitdown chat with Lewis Johnson to look back on his Olympic experience and update on what he’s been doing since retiring in 2011.
Yao said he’s back in college to finish his studies in economic management, with one year left to get a degree.
“A different story now compared to my sports days,” he said. “A lot of paperwork. My neck is a little bit sore.”
He also said seeing the teenage athletes at the Games reminded him of childhood travel.
“Some people maybe for the first time are outside of their country,” Yao said. “I remember my first time outside of the country at 17 years old, heading to Paris. It’s a big change. It’s a big step and also changed a lot for my view.”
Finally, Johnson handed Yao a memorable image from the 2008 Beijing Olympic Opening Ceremony, when Yao led the host nation into the Bird’s Nest with Lin Hao, a 9-year-old survivor of that year’s Sichuan earthquake.
“It’s a lot of emotion,” Yao said, reflecting. “The kid, he saved two of his classmates after the earthquake happened. You can see the scar on his head right there. What kind of heart he had right at this age. … That represents the future of China.”
NBCSN coverage of the Youth Olympics continues Wednesday (7-8 p.m. ET) and concludes Thursday with the Closing Ceremony (6:30-8).
Youth Olympics broadcast schedule
RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) — Brazilian soccer star Neymar says the problems at the athletes’ village could harm the preparations of some Olympic competitors at the Rio Games.
“If this is all true, we have to lament it. We had so much time to get everything ready, but some things didn’t work out,” he said as Brazil’s men’s team prepares for the Olympic tournament.
“I hope they fix all the problems,” he said. “It’s complicated for athletes to come from abroad and realize that their accommodation is not in good condition. You prepare three years of your life to be in the Olympics and then something like this ends up hurting you. It’s not nice. I hope they can fix everything and that everybody can be happy”
Brazil’s men’s team is preparing for the games at a training camp in the mountain city of Teresopolis on the outskirts of Rio de Janeiro.
In other news, Brazil’s starting goalkeeper injured his right elbow and could miss the team’s final warmup match ahead of the games.
Fernando Prass did not practice on Tuesday after complaining of pain in his elbow and it remains unclear whether he will be fit to play the friendly against Japan on Saturday. The 38-year-old Palmeiras player will be re-evaluated daily.
Prass was one of the players older than 23 selected for Brazil’s squad, under Olympic soccer rules.
Brazil’s opening game at the Olympics is against South Africa on Aug. 4 in Brasilia.
MORE: Belarus says athletes village unsanitary, but Australia set to move in
A documentary telling the story of 18 African-American Olympians who took part in the 1936 Berlin Games is set to be released Aug. 5, in conjunction with the 2016 Olympics Opening Ceremony in Rio.
“Olympic Pride, American Prejudice” highlights the black athletes, headlined by Jesse Owens, who competed in the face of Nazi Germany and Adolf Hitler on the brink of World War II.
The independent film was written, directed and executive produced by Deborah Riley Draper, who was recently named one of 10 “Documakers to Watch” by Variety. The film is narrated by Grammy award winner and two-time Golden Globe nominee Blair Underwood, who also was an executive producer.
Draper and Underwood are hoping to share the stories of all the athletes, not just Owens. They recently had a screening in Brazil, and will show the documentary at the Monica Film Center in Los Angeles and Cinema Village in New York City before rolling it out across the U.S.
You can watch trailers for the film here and here.
From the film’s website:
“Olympic Pride, American Prejudice is a feature length documentary exploring the trials and triumphs of 18 African American Olympians in 1936. Set against the strained and turbulent atmosphere of a racially divided America, which was torn between boycotting Hitler’s Olympics or participating in the Third Reich’s grandest affair, the film follows 16 men and two women before, during and after their heroic turn at the Summer Olympic Games in Berlin. They represented a country that considered them second class citizens and competed in a country that rolled out the red carpet in spite of an undercurrent of Aryan superiority and anti-Semitism. They carried the weight of a race on their shoulders and did the unexpected with grace and dignity.
The athletes experienced things that they were not expecting—applause, warm welcomes, integrated Olympic villages and the respect of their competitors. They were world heroes yet returned home to a short-lived glory. This story is complicated. This story is triumphant but unheralded.”
MORE: Jesse Owens’ daughter cried watching ‘Race’ film ending