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时尚双语:美国奥运乒乓代表队的中国球员 回祖国备战奥运

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Inside a massive building on a university campus, 20 Ping-Pong tables stretch across a hardwood floor. There are locker rooms, showers and a coach's office, and guests have to remove their shoes before entering. The great hall clicks and clacks -- all day long and often until dark -- with children, teenagers and adults who dedicate hours to training.

Gao Jun, a U.S. table tennis player and former Gaithersburg resident, practices in that building. But the facility is not located in Maryland or even the United States; the U.S. team doesn't have a national training complex. Gao, 39, lives and trains full time in China.

For the first time, Coach Doru Gheorghe said, the U.S. table tennis team is composed entirely of China-born athletes. So when it came to training for these Olympics, many of them decided to return home.

"They keep training in China because they realize these are [better] options than they have in the U.S.," Gheorghe said. "This is a special case; they want to train hard. They understand they have to go to China and sacrifice and train all year long. Usually, if the athletes believe they don't have a good chance, they won't go to China. These girls, they want to play well and do the best they can."

U.S. women's player Crystal Huang recently joined Gao in China. Their U.S. teammate, Wang Chen, also has trained in China in anticipation for the Olympics. The lone U.S. men's player, David Zhuang, is 44 years old, married, has two girls and lives in suburban New Jersey, but even he has taken time over the past year to practice in Beijing.

In the United States, table tennis is Ping-Pong, a hobby sport often relegated to suburban basements. In China, Gao and her teammates returned to a table tennis haven: palatial facilities that double as shrines to the sport, all filled with training partners capable of making them sweat through an extended volley.

"That's the best way to make me have the good performance," said Gao, who is 25th in the latest world rankings. "If you want the best results, China is the place for the players to train."

Gao grew up in Baoding, China, where she practiced table tennis for five hours every afternoon. She outpaced her grade school of 1,000, defeated competition from throughout Hebei province and eventually earned an invitation to start training in Beijing with the national team.

She rose to near the top of the world table tennis rankings. Shoppers noticed her in stores and people stared as she walked through the streets. She appeared regularly on television. Gao won silver in women's doubles at the 1992 Olympics but soon afterward decided to step away from the sport.

She moved to Gaithersburg in 1994. It took only three years before she returned to table tennis and, as a U.S. citizen, ended up joining the U.S. team in 1997.

But for the past few years, Gao has lived at East China University of Science and Technology, where she has studied economics and practices four hours daily. She resides with some of the world's best table tennis players and walks less than five minutes from her dorm to practice against them.

"If I want to play good, I have to go to China to train," Gao said. "In U.S., nobody was training with me. Nobody practiced with me. In the U.S., there's not many good players. We have some, but we don't live together, so it's very hard for us to train in the U.S."

USA Table Tennis is in flux, with its board of directors recently pared from 14 to nine members and its chief executive officer serving on an interim basis. Because there is no central training facility, players are left to practice overseas or at one of the nation's 260 table tennis clubs.

"That's one of the arguments, that we need to develop our kids, identify them at an early age, make sure they have the right training and right competition and make sure they go to school," said Mike Cavanaugh, interim CEO of USA Table Tennis.

Practice abroad has been a boon for the U.S. team, especially Gao. Working against dozens of highly skilled players has sharpened Gao's game, a unique style that keeps her cozy up against the table. She is all finesse, employing wide-angle and drop shots and forcing her opponents into movement.

With nine days before Opening Ceremonies, Gao still is readying for the Games. And she's doing it not in the United States but in China, in a facility filled with the world's top players.
"They need to go where the partners are," Gheorghe said. "It's cheaper than to bring the partners here."


在一所大学校园里的一座大型建筑物内,硬木地板上四处排放着20台乒乓球桌。这里有更衣室,浴室和一间教练员办公室,客人们进来前要脱下鞋子。由于有很多小孩子,青少年和成年人来这里练球,而且一练就是几个小时,大厅里乒乒乓乓的声音会持续一整天而且通常直到天黑。

高军(Gao Jun)是美国乒乓球选手,以前住在盖瑟斯堡,目前就在这个建筑里训练。但是这个训练场并不位于马里兰州,甚至也不在美国;美国国家乒乓球队没有自己的训练基地。39岁的高军全天候吃住和训练在中国。

教练多鲁.乔戈(Doru Gheorghe)说,美国乒乓球队头一次完全由在中国出生的运动员组成。所以考虑此次奥运会的训练时,他们中的很多人决定回到祖国去。

“她们坚持在中国训练是因为他们知道在这里比在美国有更好的机会,”乔戈说道。“这是一个特例,她们想要更艰苦的训练。她们懂得必须去中国,做出牺牲去训练整整一年。通常来说,如果这些运动员认为自己机会不多,是不会去中国的。这些姑娘们确实想要打好比赛,并且全力以赴。”

美国女子选手黄瑶西(Crystal Huang)前些日子也来到中国和高军会合。她们的队友王晨(Wang Chen)也在中国受训,期待着奥运会上有所作为。美国唯一的男子选手庄永祥(David Zhuang)今年44岁,已婚而且是两个女儿的父亲,家在新泽西的郊区。就连他也在去年抽出时间到北京训练。

在美国,乒乓球是一项普通爱好,人们只在不起眼的地下室里随便玩玩。在中国,高军和队友们则回到了乒乓球运动的天堂:很多训练设施都宽敞明亮,像是一座座乒乓球的圣殿。所有这些场地里都有高水平的陪练,能和她们奋力拼杀很多回合。

“这是让我打出成绩最好的办法,”高军这位最新世界排名第25位的选手谈到。“如果想要最好的成绩,选手们应该来中国培训。”

高军在中国保定长大,那时她每天下午都要练习五个小时的乒乓球。上小学时,她从1000多名学生中脱颖而出,后来拿到了河北省冠军,并最终被国家队选中到北京开始集训。

她的名次逐渐上升,一度接近乒乓球世界排名首位。逛商场时有人认出她来,走在街道上也有人盯着她看。她经常上电视。1992年奥运会上高军赢得女子双打银牌,不过那以后她决定退役。

1994年她到盖瑟斯堡定居。仅仅过了三年,她又挥舞起球拍,直到作为美国公民于1997年加入美国队。

但是在过去几年里,高军一直住在华东科技大学,在那里学习经济并坚持每天练球四个小时。她和一些世界上最好的乒乓球手住在一起,只需不到五分钟就可以从宿舍走到训练场地和那些好手们一起练球。

“如果我想打得好,就必须去中国训练,”高军这样说。“在美国,没有人和我一道训练,也找不到人陪练。在美国,好的球手不多。我们有些好手,可是都不住在一起,所以在美国训练很难。”

美国乒乓球理事会正处于低谷,前一阵理事会的成员由14位缩减到现在的9位,首席执行官也采用临时管理的方式。由于没有集中训练设施,选手们只好到海外训练,否则只能在全国260家乒乓球俱乐部里训练。

“这是争论的焦点之一,有人提出我们需要培养自己的孩子,从中及早发现好苗子,并保证他们得到良好的训练,多打一些有益的比赛,也要保证他们的学校教育。”美国乒乓球理事会临时CEO迈克.卡凡诺(Mike Cavanaugh)说道。

到国外训练对美国队来说是件好事,对高军更是如此。通过与几十位高手过招,高军的打法变得更加犀利,这种打法很特别,可以让她稳稳地站在台前。她手法高超,利用大角度斜线球和扣杀迫使对手疲于奔命。

随着奥运开幕仅剩九天,高军还在为比赛做着准备。而且她不是在美国,而是在中国一个满是世界顶级选手的训练场里做着准备。

“她们需要找有陪练的地方,”乔戈说。“这比带陪练过来要便宜得多。”

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remove [ri'mu:v]

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v. 消除,除去,脱掉,搬迁
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n. 水晶,晶体
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