1994 Photo Contest, Sports, 2nd prize

Tom Stoddart

Katz Pictures

01 January, 1993

At special sports schools in China, girls barely out of kindergarten are subjected to a strict regime designed to push the elasticity of the human body to its limits. Their goal: Olympic and/or world titles. At the sports school the day begins at 5.30 a.m. A strict timetable tailored around at least four hours of training a day, fits in schooling, rest and meals composed more for their nutritional value than their taste. The lights are switched off at 9 p.m. The girls are groomed to reach their peak when they are 14 or 15 years old. Children from remote rural areas, who have known poverty since they were born and who have developed willpower and discipline at an early age, score particularly highly at the school.

About the photographer

Tom Stoddart

In 1978 he moved to London and began working freelance for publications such as the Sunday Times and Time Magazine. During a long and varied career he has witnessed such interna...

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