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World

China's Olympic hopefuls see there's more to life

Opening sequence

Opening sequence

World

China's Olympic hopefuls see there's more to life

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COMING UP:China's Olympic hopefuls see there's more to life

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Transcript

00:00:01
>> Put through their paces in Shanghai with the real games just a month away. There's new focus on one of the world's most successful and grueling sports programs. China's state-run system has churned out gold medalists for decades, but there are signs it's breaking down as more Chinese see the cost as simply too high.
00:00:20
>> I'm Anita in Shanghai. This sports school has been running for almost 60 years, and only three of its students have made it to the national team. And according to the principal, none have actually competed in the Olympics. The odds for these young athletes are extremely low, and the effort they'll have to put in is enormous.
00:00:39
Almost a third of China's state-run schools have closed over the past 15 years as family see better options for their kids. Beijing is trying to fix one of the system's big problems, education. During the 2008 Summer Games, stories began to emerge of retired athletes discarded by the system, unable to find work.
00:00:59
Beijing has ordered sport schools to give kids more time for class and homework, and schools have responded.>> Some of our students are going to make it to the top, but most need to think about developing in other areas. Because let's face it, not everyone can be a champion.
00:01:16
>> These changes mean China's sports machine is slowing. Experts say the country would never be able to repeat its 2008 performance when it won 100 medals, half of them gold. But they also said it means sports is becoming what it should be, a source of pride and pleasure for China's athletes.
00:01:36
>>
LAUGH]