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
If it is eligible for the Rio Olympics, Russia’s track and field federation (ARAF) said Tuesday it will not send any athletes convicted of doping in previous years to the Games.
The move was made as Russia’s track and field federation hopes to be reinstated to international competition on June 17 after it was suspended indefinitely in November for doping violations.
“The ARAF presidium has introduced amendments to the criteria of selecting athletes who will go to the Olympics,” a statement read Tuesday, according to a Russian news agency TASS translation. “The list of requirements now contains a special clause saying that any potential participant in the Olympics who proved to have used doping in the previous years cannot be a member of the Russian national team. The ARAF made this harsh decision for the sole purpose of doing its utmost to let clean athletes participate in the Olympics.”
The statement came after Russia media reported 11 Russian track and field athletes from the 2008 Beijing Games, including eight medalists, are among 31 athletes from 12 nations across six sports whose 2008 doping samples retested recently came up positive.
London Olympic high jump champion Anna Chicherova is on that list of 11 athletes.
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London Olympic high jump champion Anna Chicherova is one of many Russians among 31 athletes overall who tested positive in recent retests of Beijing Olympic samples, according to Russian news agency TASS.
TASS named nine 2008 Olympic medalists among 14 Russian athletes, citing a Russian TV report, including eight medalists in track and field, with Chicherova being the superstar of the group.
“Three days ago, Anna received a notice that her doping sample from the Beijing Olympic tested positive after a re-check, and she called me,” Chicherova’s coach said, according to TASS. “So far, this is at the development stage and this has not yet been finally confirmed. But all are aware of this and are dealing with the issue.”
Last week, the International Olympic Committee said 31 unnamed athletes from 12 nations across six sports failed drug tests in retesting of 454 samples from 2008 using the latest drug-testing methods.
Chicherova, 33, took high jump gold at the London Games and bronze in Beijing. She is one of two track and field athletes to earn an individual-event medal at the last five World Championships and last two Olympics. The other is Usain Bolt.
Chicherova, who has had no previously widespread reported doping history, would be one of Russia’s top Olympic track and field medal hopes in Rio, should the ban on Russian track and field athletes competing be lifted before the Games.
Russia is expected to learn if it will be allowed to send a track and field team to Rio on June 17.
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