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The 2008 Summer Olympics Are Sure to Put a Smile on Your Face… If You Are in Medal Presenting School

West Virginia has its program in athletic coaching. Florida State, of course, has its music courses. My alma mater, Arizona State, has a course on the Beatles (which I of course took my senior year).

However, the courses offered at China’s Beijing Foreign Affairs School make these programs look like PhDs in Biochemistry in comparison.

In preparation for this summer’s 2008 Beijing Olympics, the Beijing Foreign Affairs School is offering a full program in medal presenting.

Are you a tall, thin Chinese woman? Not quite cut out to be an Olympic cheerleader but still wanting to show off your national pride during the games? Then you too can earn a degree in a field that will become completely obsolete on August 24, 2008!

Thirty-four girls are enrolled in the program, hoping to be come part of a group of 380 women who will be chosen to present medals to the winners in Beijing. Those who are not chosen will presumably be forced to return to their sweatshops.

Before you think that this program is a joke, keep in mind what these girls must go through. They stand for hours on end in high-heels, balancing books on their heads. If that wasn’t enough, they also learn English, undergo cultural training and look at pictures of past medal presenters and their uniforms. The worst part of it all? Not the shoes, not the books, not the standing, but having to listen to Enya while doing so.

16-year-old Li Miaomiao is one of the hopefuls, despite falling 2 years short of the age requirement of 18-25. She said:

I practice at home, and smile to the mirror for an hour every day. I want to present my smile to the world, and let them know that the Chinese smile is the warmest. I have an air of elegance now, and my bearing has changed through this training programme.

An hour a day might just be a tad excessive. It’s hard to have a warm smile when your jaw looks like Bill Cowher’s. Then again, given the stringent smiling guidelines of having only your top 8 teeth showing, smiling practice just might be necessary.

Go ahead, try it. If you’re like me, if you try to smile while consciously attempting to show 8 top teeth, you’ll look like a deranged serial killer crossed with a hyena. Feel free to post photos of your attempts in the comments below, we all can use a laugh.

Just 7 months until the Opening Ceremonies.

Lessons in how to smile for China’s Olympic hostesses (Times Online)
Beijing school grooms girls to award Olympic medals (Reuters)

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