Shanghai, China. Girls practice sit-ups during a gymnastics lesson at the youth amateur athletic school. China’s sports system has been enormously successful since the country returned to the Olympic fold in 1980, culminating with the host nation topping the medals’ table at the 2008 Beijing Olympics. And yet, with the Rio de Janeiro Games less than three months away, the system is beginning to break down due to the shifting demographics of a more prosperous nation.
In 2008, at the Beijing Summer Olympics, Michael Phelps broke an Olympic record and became the most decorated gold medalist in history. Phelps won eight gold medals at the Beijing Olympics, resulting in an astonishing 19 gold medals throughout his Olympic career. Phelps is now a swimming legend with a record extremely difficult to beat. http://sports.espn.go.com/oly/summer08/columns/story?id=3539386 (Courtney Petersen)