The story of Wu Minxia: What’s more important–2012 Summer Olympics or family?

· Philosophy, Popular culture

Chinese diver Wu Minxia won gold in the diving competition in the 2012 Summer Olympics but it was at a price that most Westerners would not be willing to pay. The gold medalist does not communicate that often with her parents, because of her focus on training for the Olympics. Her dedication has paid off, but she does not get to celebrate with her family because they rarely talk. When she was six years old, she was sent away to train for the Olympics, a norm in China. This is a country that cares deeply about achieving as much as possible.


What is more important, Olympics gold medals or family? Most people would say family. They will be there long after medals tarnish. However, in Minxia’s case, her mother has struggled for years with breast cancer, and her grandparents recently passed away. She was not told about the latter, and the former was downplayed so that she could concentrate on her training.


This dedication seems suspect and heartbreaking, but even more unsettling is the Chinese one-child policy. In the West, this is unofficially done through birth control, but it is not part of official policy. Limiting your family, in general, although there could be individual exceptions, seems to me to be the height of ingratitude. W e were lucky enough to be born, and yet we deny the right to others. Having only one child can also put much more pressure on that child, particularly if you live in a country where great achievement is expected, encouraged, and downright drilled into you at a very early age.


Hopefully someday Wu and her parents will figure out that they are lucky to have each other and they should take this chance to communicate. Wu has her gold medal. Maybe now she can have her parents.

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