The Olympics are on and I am pleased to say that Hong Kong worked out its controversial public television coverage issues such that two channels will show the Olympic games on tv for all to see, despite the time zone preventing us from watching the key events at decent hours (the opening ceremony aired at 4am!).
What I find interesting is that in Hong Kong there will be more coverage of all kinds of sports — and not just swimming and gymnastics. Being an ex-fencer, I was thrilled to see this original Olympic sport featured on television.
But while I was excited to see television coverage of my normally overlooked sport (in America, that is), I noticed, the coverage was not of the top athletes, but rather was of the local athletes.
Hong Kong actually has 42 athletes in 13 sports representing the SAR in this year’s games. Sports not only include a few representatives in fencing, but also badminton (a no-brainer considering how popular it is in HK), archery, judo, shooting, even weightlifting, among others. Given that Hong Kong will only compete in 13 sports, this might be why time is set aside for sports like fencing or shooting (which I saw each of on television last night).
Not only is special effort made to cover the local athletes of Hong Kong, but once their turns are done, there is some effort to feature other nearby Asian athletes, including China and a country represented by the letters “TPE”.
TPE? Isn’t that the airport code for Taipei? Why Taipei and not Taiwan? Well I don’t exactly know the answer to that last question, but it turns out that since the civil war in China, the Republic of China, a/k/a Taiwan, is most commonly known in almost all sporting events as Chinese Taipei.
According to my ever-cited Wikipedia, both the ROC and PRC, it’s the one name that both countries (I’m calling Taiwan a country) can agree on using. The usage of ROC, is confusing for fairly self-explanatory reasons and creates an obvious ambiguity concerning Taiwan’s political status. But what’s wrong with calling yourself Taiwan?
Well the Chinese don’t like it because it connotes independence from PRC, whereas the Taiwanese apparently dislike it because it somehow suggests subordinance to the PRC!
In any case, watch the public teleivison coverage of the Olympics in Hong Kong — you’ll get exposure to less popular sports and learn something about international relations!