This study examines media images of sports public figures during 4 periods of modern Chinese history. Furthermore, an explanation is provided for each of the variables that have affected the media’s portrayal of sports public figures. As in most cultures and nations around the world, sports public figures are recognizable characters in modern Chinese culture. They have a significant impact on opinions regarding sports and society and have gained a pivotal role in the fabric of mainstream culture. Over the various historical periods in China, the country’s media have reported stories involving sports public figures differently. The descriptions contained in this study are reflections of the various political, economical, cultural, sports, and media climates during different time periods in China. The commercialization of sports and the rise of the media’s presence have influenced the pursuit of an all-encompassing image of Chinese sports public figures.
Tang is with the Dept. of Sports Media, Shanghai University of Sport, Shanghai, China. Gregg is with the Dept. of Sport and Exercise Science, Jacksonville University, Jacksonville, FL.