Ning Zetao Subject Of ‘Turning Point’ Documentary

Chinese swimmer Ning Zetao has made headlines both in and out the pool over his short career, spanning one end of the positive news spectrum to the other. In 2011, then just 18 years of age, the sprint freestyler served a doping suspension for having tested positive for clenbuterol. The athlete redeemed himself in Kazan, as he clinched the World Championship title in the men’s 100m freestyle last year, becoming the first Chinese man ever to win an event at the biennial competition.

Considered a heart throb in his home nation, the now-23-year-old Zhengzhou, Henan is a subject of a recently released Chinese documentary entitled ‘Turning Point’, aired by CCTV5 this week.  The approximately 45-minute film includes footage from when a crew followed Zetao’s training and daily life in Australia prior to the Olympic Games.

‘Under the blue waves, he is fast as a swift dragon, shattered water waves and became a world champion,’ is the verbiage accompanying the documentary, whose description says it reveals the swimmer’s ‘loneliness and solitariness rarely known to the outside world.’

The film also reportedly reveals how the Chinese Swimming Federation treated Zetao during his final weeks prior to Rio. Social media reports alleged that Zetao was to be cut from the Chinese Olympic roster due to undertaking too many commercial engagements. But at the time Zetao denied these reports, saying his goal was to ‘strive for glory’ at the Olympics.

Glory wasn’t to be had in Rio, however, as Zetao found himself 30th after prelims in the men’s 50m freestyle (22.38) and 12th after semi-finals in the 100m freestyle (48.32).

The film premiered in Beijing on November 8th and is available within this post courtesy of CCTV5.

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1. The film revealed that Chinese Swimming and Aquatics center (not swimming federation) suspended Ning Zetao’s training 5 weeks prior to the Olympics meet, dismissed his coach and made an effort to cut his food supply and accommodation. Ning Zetao lost 10 pounds as a result.
2. Ning Zetao has NOT participated in “so many commercial engagements” – Chinese gov press has confirmed those reports to be fake accusations.
3. The cause of the dispute is that the head of Chinese Swimming and Aquatics Center Wang Lusheng failed to force Ning Zetao to sign a commercial contract with Mengniu Diary which Wang has personal financial connection with. Wang is currently under investigation by the Chinese gov.


Ning was pull out of training by the head of china swimming team 5 weeks before the rio game, due to a conflict of commercial contracts. He was threatened to ” watch out for your career” and forced out of athlete residence, not allowed to eat at alethelte Cafe etc. Ning did not even have a coach during that period of time. He lost 10 pounds of muscle in 2 weeks under the tremendous pressure, which largely contributed to his underperformance in Rio. Actually the conflict of the commercial contracts are a result of corruption of a senior authority in China swimming center, reported by insider. What a shame!


Support Ning Zetao!You are our hero!


Me too – great guy

About Loretta Race

Loretta Race

Loretta grew up outside Toledo, OH, where she swam age group and high school. Graduating from Xavier University, she stayed in the Cincinnati, OH area and currently resides just outside the city in Northern KY.  Loretta got back into the sport of swimming via Masters and now competes and is …

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