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.