China Daily, May 8 th, Su Yiming, an 18-year-old boy who won a gold and a silver for the first time in the Winter Olympics, not only created history, but also made the public curious about more sports that were unfamiliar in the past-after Su Yiming brought snowboarding into public view, what would be the next sports that gave birth to Su Yiming; What new events are worthy of attention in the next two Olympic Games? Flag football may be the best answer to the above two questions.
Flag Rugby: Next Stop, Olympic Games
In the mid-19th century, American football rose in the famous Ivy League schools such as Harvard, Yale, Princeton, Columbia, etc. Later, this sport quickly swept across the United States and became one of the most popular sports in the United States. Flag Football, which was born out of American football, is catching more and more participants all over the world because of its many advantages, such as easy to learn, zero equipment, no collision, and small space demand. In 2020, the World Games decided to accept flag rugby as its official competition in 2022.
"In 2021, the Olympic Channel broadcasted the final of the 2021 Rugby World Cup in Jerusalem, Israel to the global audience, and this summer, the world’s best men’s and women’s eight rugby teams will be on the field of the 2022 World Games for the first time, and they will make history in front of the global audience." Andy Fuller, managing director of the International Football Federation (IFAF), said: "The flag football will continue to flourish."
"Waist flag football is full of vitality and passion. In the folk, it is suitable for all ages to participate in this sport." Pierre Trochet, president of the International Football Association (IFAF), said: "We hope that the flag football will become a catalyst when it enters the 2022 World Games, so that the sport will usher in a new growth period around the world and more talented people who love the sport can join it."
But for flag football, becoming the official event of the 2022 World Games is only the beginning. For this sport, the bigger stage is the Olympic Games.
The entry of flag football into the Olympics is something that the NFL has been actively promoting, and becoming the official event of the 2022 World Games has added an important weight to the entry of flag football into the Olympics. In the past Olympic history, badminton, beach volleyball, rugby sevens, trampoline, triathlon and other events all became the events of the World Games first, and then knocked on the door of the official events of the Olympic Games.
"The International Football Federation is working hard to promote the establishment of the flag football project in the 2028 Los Angeles Olympic Games, and the NFL is fully supporting them." Jia Hengxuan, senior director of NFL China, said: "Although the Olympic addition is a huge project, for now, everything is going well."
Also worthy of attention is the statement from the Chinese Rugby Association. According to the Ten-year Development Plan of Rugby in China released in 2019, "By widely popularizing all kinds of rugby in primary and secondary schools across the country, the number of rugby participants in China is expected to exceed 5 million, and the number of people who pay attention to rugby will reach 50 million."
Just as American football was born in an Ivy League competition in the United States, waist flag football became more and more popular in China with the participation of some well-known universities. More than 40 universities, including Tsinghua, Peking University, Fudan University, Shanghai Jiaotong University, Wuhan University, Guangzhou University, and Shandong University, have participated in the national flag football tournament held by the NFL in China since 2008. With the increasing popularity and popularity of football, teenagers have become one of the largest participating groups. In China, competitions for all ages including primary school group, junior high school group and senior high school group have also been held. Waist flag rugby has become one of the sports widely participated by teenagers in first-and second-tier cities.
When the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics made a young teenager represented by Su Yiming, and when the flag football officially joined the Olympic family and became the official event of the 2028 Los Angeles Olympic Games, those teenagers who are running on the court now may be the next Su Yiming to create Olympic history on behalf of China.
Flag football: not just the Olympics
The Olympics represents a height, but for those who love flag football, the real value of this sport is far more than just boarding the Olympic Games. Participating in flag football can comprehensively shape the participants from many dimensions, such as strengthening physique, exercising mind, cultivating leadership and team spirit, and cultural exchanges between the East and the West.
As a safe, zero-contact and small-venue football game, flag football has no requirements on the number of participants, age and physical fitness. Even if it is based on zero sports, it can quickly integrate into the team, and men and women can mix teams and compete in the same field.
With these characteristics, the flag football has quickly gained popularity among the public since its birth. Take Japan as an example. After the rise of flag football in Japan in the 1990s, the Japanese Rugby Association quickly established a flag football tutorial class with the NFL in eight regions in 1998. In October of the same year, flag football became a promotion course for primary and secondary schools.
The data shows that more than one-third of primary schools (6,700 schools) in Japan have carried out flag football. Since 2011, flag football has been raised to the level of learning guidance for students in grades 3, 4, 5 and 6 in Japan. Since the flag football was declared to be the event of the World Games, Japan has taken precautions to promote its talent reserve and selection in its own country from the perspective of Olympic strategy.
The achievements made by neighboring Japan in flag rugby fully show that rugby is not only suitable for Europe and America. Broadly speaking, modern sports originated in Europe and America. However, since the founding of New China, Chinese athletes have made remarkable achievements in various modern sports, which has already fully demonstrated that sports can never be defined by cultural differences and ethnic differences. Just at the just-concluded Beijing Winter Olympics, Z-generation teenagers, represented by Su Yiming, won gold and silver for the China Legion in ice and snow projects and made history, which is the best proof.
With China becoming the second largest economy in the world, the per capita GDP reaches 12,500 US dollars, which is close to the threshold of high-income countries. Many sports that were once restricted by economic factors and could not be popularized and developed in China now have excellent development conditions, such as ice and snow sports, and American football.
NFL China: Let more people experience the charm of flag football.
The NFL is the most influential professional football league in the world. NFL China is committed to promoting flag football, and at the same time, it is actively promoting the work of building an upward channel for domestic excellent rugby players, so that potential China players can enter American high school leagues and NCAA famous football schools for further study, or directly enter professional leagues through IPP international player program.
Since 2021, various girls’ flag football teams and organizations have sprung up all over the country, including more than ten cities such as Shanghai, Beijing, Wuhan, Chongqing and Zhengzhou. In these cities, white-collar workers, college students and other female groups gather for training and competition after work or on weekends. In order to better popularize flag football and prepare for the flag football to become an event in the 2028 Los Angeles Olympic Games, NFL China decided to carry out extensive cooperation with national and local organizations and increase the incubation of rugby institutions from this year.
NFL China will empower the brand effect of partners and promotion agencies, provide teachers, advanced flag football training methods, operate and organize competitions, and provide strong software support for cooperation agencies to enter the campus; Carry out NFL flag football league and local school-level league on campus, create an upgrade channel for the event, provide new sports for the school, and help the school establish a school with sports characteristics; And provide a certificate of completion for students who have participated in a certain number of class hours.
At the same time, the NFL, together with local partners and the Education Bureau, held flag rugby leagues in six cities in China, and invited China, the representative of the national champion team, to participate in the flag rugby World Cup.
NFL China will also use various NFL publicity platforms to help institutions publicize the construction of campus flag rugby courses, leagues and clubs, and add novel rugby study tours for institutions and schools in light of actual conditions; Enhance the sports cognition of institutions and students, and feel the charm of American football at close range.
Source: China Daily.