Article written by guest writer Kecia Lynn
What's the Latest Development?
Although Mexico finished 39th overall at the 2012 Summer Olympics, it still enjoyed its most successful performance ever, thanks largely to the fact that three of its seven medals were earned in diving. Although the country has produced strong divers in the past, the sport is enjoying a renaissance, thanks largely to the "revolutionizing" efforts of Chinese coaches, who divers claim brought precision, technique and discipline with them. According to the head of the Mexican sports commission, foreign coaches have helped Mexican athletes gain confidence, leading to "[steady improvements] in international sports competitions."
What's the Big Idea?
China's inroads in Latin America have not only been about trade: Cultural imports are making an impact as well. In the case of sports, the coaches came as a result of Mexico's attempt to decentralize the training of its skilled athletes. Fifty coaches from various sports were invited to Mexico in 2002 to help improve both the athletes' skills and those of their trainers. Now diving is second only to boxing in the number of Olympic medals it's won for the country, and its sports commission has received a budget of $450 million, a fivefold increase from past years.