Colors of China: Rower striving for the Olympics

Colors of China

Colors of China rower

“We get up at 4.50 AM everyday. At 5 AM, we have to do some warm-up exercises before going out to row. We then row 12 KM on Star Lake, we then eat breakfast …”

Guo Chun mechanically reels off his daily routine. Training, eating, a little study then more training and eating. It’s repeated six days a week, as he slowly prepares himself for competition.

At 16 he is now under pressure to win a national championship before he can be considered for his ultimate goal–a place in the Chinese Olympic rowing team.




Guo Chun was 12 years old when he sat in front of his television back home in the far northeast of China watching the Beijing Olympics. The 100 medal haul that took China to the top of the Olympic table, left him dreaming of one day standing on the podium himself.

“When I was watching the Olympics on TV, I could not help but feel my blood boil,” Guo explained. “Having seen them fighting for the glory of the country, I feel a strong desire to do the same thing.”

Guo had his break when the head coach from a rowing academy in Guangdong Province passed through Guo’s hometown and spotted his potential. “I was trying to make it as a basketball player but it’s really tough to compete in this sport. I think rowing suits me much better.”

His parents were keen for him to give it a go, though Guo himself needed some persuading. “After arriving, I felt a strong dislike for the training. However to my surprise I fell in love with rowing in a short time. I am settled now.”

It took just one and a half years of intense training before Guo started to win medals. “In 2014 in the Guangdong Youth Rowing Championships I entered three races and we won all three. My current goal is to win the national games.” As for the Olympics, “It is too far a goal for me right now.”

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