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Gymnastic camps: training or torture?


Watching gymnasts perform may be a feast to your eyes but have you ever imagined how did they get there? It’s a story of tears and sweat. Kids as young as four are put through painful stretching routine during training sessions. These chilling images from gymnastics training camps will make any parents grimace.


Behind gold medals: Training with tears and sweat
Gymnasts from the Nanjing children's gymnastic team stretch during a training session at a sports centre in Nanjing, Jiangsu province, July 6, 2012. The team with about thirty young gymnasts, between the ages of four to eight, is the representative of Nanjing city for the provincial gymnastic games. REUTERS/Sean Yong



In a photograph taken on April 7, 2012, a young Chinese gymnast trains at a special sport school in Hefei, east China's Anhui province. Potential gymnasts embark on a gruelling schedule which aims
Young Chinese gymnast trains at a special sport school in Hefei, east China's Anhui province. Potential gymnasts embark on a gruelling schedule which aims to create champions, as schooling and family take a back seat to eight hours of training six days a week, while quitting the rigid system that demands total dedication, and in which the state invests millions of dollars to develop its athletes, is rarely an option. AFP PHOTO


Many more to go......







In a photograph taken on April 7, 2012, a young Chinese gymnast trains at a special sport school in Hefei, east China's Anhui province. Potential gymnasts embark on a gruelling schedule which aims








A Chinese boy practises weightlifting at a weightlifting training school in Jinjiang, in south China's Fujian province on July 22, 2011. Young Chinese athletes often enroll in sports schools in the ho
A Chinese boy practises weightlifting at a weightlifting training school in Jinjiang, in south China's Fujian province on July 22, 2011. Young Chinese athletes often enroll in sports schools in the hopes of future medal dreams following the country's success at the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games. CHINA OUT AFP PHOTO (Photo credit should read STR/AFP/Getty Images)



Young female gymnasts practice as a coach looks on as another takes a break during a gymnastics class at the Shichahai Sports School in Beijing
Young female gymnasts practice as a coach looks on as another takes a break during a gymnastics class for children aged between seven and ten at the Shichahai Sports School in Beijing March 21, 2012. The state-run Shichahai sports school, located in central Beijing and not far from the top leadership compound at Zhongnanhai, the government begins training young athletes from as young as 6. Dubbed "the cradle of world champions" in a gold-embossed stone plinth outside one of its entrances, the school has raised 39 world champions and seven Olympic ones. Large Chinese flags dominate the austere gyms and other training rooms. When Chinese athletes swept to the top of the gold medal table during the 2008 Beijing Olympics, the feat was accompanied by a wave of national pride, the culmination of China's "100 year dream" to host the world's most prestigious sports event. Whether China can repeat that feat at this year's London games will surely be watched closely by all.



Behind gold medals: Training with tears and sweat



A Chinese boy practises weightlifting at a weightlifting training school in Jinjiang, in south China's Fujian province on July 22, 2011. Young Chinese athletes often enroll in sports schools in th
A Chinese boy practises weightlifting at a weightlifting training school in Jinjiang, in south China's Fujian province on July 22, 2011. Young Chinese athletes often enroll in sports schools in the hopes of future medal dreams following the country's success at the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games.AFP PHOTO



Behind gold medals: Training with tears and sweat
Chinese boys training at a weightlifting school in Xiamen, southeast China's Fujian province. Dominant China put Asia on top of the world at the Beijing Olympics but the pressure is on as they bid to repeat the feat away from home. 



Behind gold medals: Training with tears and sweat
A gymnast from the Chinese national gymnastics team practices next to coaches during a training session at General Administration of Sport of China, in Beijing, July 16, 2012. These young gymnasts are training for the Rio de Janeiro 2016 Olympic Games. REUTERS/Jason Lee



Behind gold medals: Training with tears and sweat
Young gymnast Mo Yuxin (C), who broke her arm during a training, practice basic skills with other gymnasts at a juvenile gymnastics training base in Wuhan, Hubei province July 13, 2012. REUTERS/Stringer



Behind gold medals: Training with tears and sweat
A girl from the Nanjing children's gymnastic team, with her hands tied on the horizontal bar, prepares for her practice during a training session at a sports center in Nanjing, Jiangsu province, July 6, 2012. The team with about thirty young gymnasts, between the ages of four to eight, is the representative of Nanjing city for the provincial gymnastic games.



File photo of young gymnasts standing together as a classmate hangs from gymnastic rings in front of a Chinese national flag during a gymnastics class at the Shichahai Sports School in Beijing
Young gymnasts stand together as a classmate hangs from gymnastic rings in front of a Chinese national flag during a gymnastics class for children aged between seven and ten at the Shichahai Sports School in Beijing in this March 21, 2012 file photo. The state-run Shichahai sports school, located in central Beijing and not far from the top leadership compound at Zhongnanhai, the government begins training young athletes from as young as 6. Dubbed "the cradle of world champions" in a gold-embossed stone plinth outside one of its entrances, the school has raised 39 world champions and seven Olympic ones. Large Chinese flags dominate the austere gyms and other training rooms. When Chinese athletes swept to the top of the gold medal table during the 2008 Beijing Olympics, the feat was accompanied by a wave of national pride, the culmination of China's "100 year dream" to host the world's most prestigious sports event. Whether China can repeat that feat at this year's London games will surely be watched closely by all. REUTERS/David Gray



A young gymnast practices on gymnastic rings as another trains on the parallel bars during a gymnastics class for children aged between seven and ten at the Shichahai Sports School in Beijing
A young gymnast practices on gymnastic rings as another trains on the parallel bars during a gymnastics class for children aged between seven and ten at the Shichahai Sports School in Beijing March 21, 2012. The state-run Shichahai sports school, located in central Beijing and not far from the top leadership compound at Zhongnanhai, the government begins training young athletes from as young as 6. Dubbed "the cradle of world champions" in a gold-embossed stone plinth outside one of its entrances, the school has raised 39 world champions and seven Olympic ones. Large Chinese flags dominate the austere gyms and other training rooms. When Chinese athletes swept to the top of the gold medal table during the 2008 Beijing Olympics, the feat was accompanied by a wave of national pride, the culmination of China's "100 year dream" to host the world's most prestigious sports event. Whether China can repeat that feat at this year's London games will surely be watched closely by all. Picture taken March 21, 2012. 




A young gymnast practices on a pommel horse during a training session at a local juvenile sports school in Jiaxing
A young gymnast (front) practices on a pommel horse during a training session at a local juvenile sports school in Jiaxing, Zhejiang province July 10, 2012. REUTERS/Stringer



Behind gold medals: Training with tears and sweat
A young gymnast practices skills with his legs in a vessel during a training session at a local juvenile sports school in Jiaxing, Zhejiang province July 10, 2012. REUTERS/Stringer


Behind gold medals: Training with tears and sweat
Chinese boy training at a weightlifting school in Xiamen, southeast China's Fujian province. Dominant China put Asia on top of the world at the Beijing Olympics but the pressure is on as they bid to repeat the feat away from home.
AFP PHOTO



File photo of young gymnasts preparing to practice their floor exercises during a gymnastics class for children at the Shichahai Sports School in Beijing




Behind gold medals: Training with tears and sweat
A young gymnast practices on the balance beam under a Chinese national flag and the Olympic rings during a training session at a juvenile gymnastics training base in Wuhan, Hubei province July 13, 2012. The photos hung on the wall are three former Olympics gold medalists (from L) Li Shanshan, Yang Wei, Cheng Fei, and a member of China's London Olympics Gymnastics Squad Huang Qiushuang (R). All of them used to train at this base before attending the Chinese national gymnastics team.




Behind gold medals: Training with tears and sweat
A girl from the Nanjing children's gymnastic team jumps as she practices on the balance beam during a training session at a sports centre in Nanjing, Jiangsu province, July 6, 2012. The team with about thirty young gymnasts, between the ages of four to eight, is the representative of Nanjing city for the provincial gymnastic games.



Behind gold medals: Training with tears and sweat
A young gymnast is tught on the parallel bar at the Shenzhen Sports Institute 22 March 2004. Set nearly 20 kilometers (12 miles) outside the city and ringed with green hills, the boarding school has facilities for everything from ping-pong, football and basketball to wrestling and Taekwondo. 


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