Publication Date

Summer 2014

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)




Shirley H. Reekie


Chinese Wushu Athletes, Education, Overall Personal Development, Social Skills, Training, Vocational Skills

Subject Areas

Kinesiology; Physical education


The success of Chinese professional athletes is attributable to the government-run elite sport system; it is seen as one of the most effective and successful systems at nurturing high-skilled athletes. However, within the Chinese professional sport system, tensions between athletes' athletic skills and overall personal development have been widely documented. Among all studies, very few have employed in-depth interviews with professional wushu athletes. In this study, the researcher utilized in-depth semi-structured interviews with professional wushu athletes from three of the 25 professional wushu teams in mainland China. The study was conducted in order to understand the potential conflicts between athletes' athletic skills development and overall personal development. Findings revealed that athletes bear the training at great cost to their future potential as self-sufficient members of Chinese society. Their academic, social, and vocational skills are subject to deep neglect that negatively impacts their post-competition careers. The system considers investment in preparation for the post-competitive lives of the athletes to be a distraction from, or even an impediment to, their success in competition. It is suggested that the Chinese sport system undertake a review and reformation of its approach to wushu training to provide athletes with the skills needed to successfully navigate a life outside of athletics.