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What is championship?

"Answer this question and we will have captured the crucial ingredient which lets the human spirit soar."

Professor Allan Snyder FRS
The Inaugural Edwin Flack Lecture
Sydney, 26 June 1998


An official Olympic Cultural Event

When: 4 and 5 August 2008

Where: Peking University, Beijing

On 4-5 August 2008, just prior to the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games, Tony Blair opened the second What Makes a Champion? forum, held at the prestigious Peking University in Beijing.

Beijing 2008 logo

In this second What Makes a Champion?™ forum, extraordinary individuals from the East and West participated in three panels to distil the essence of great accomplishment and especially to discuss how culture and the society in which we live shape our approach to championship - championship in the broadest sense across all fields of endeavour.

These included Henry Kissinger, Tony Blair, IOC President Jacques Rogge, Jackie Chan, Ian Thorpe, Lord Sebastian Coe, Nobel Prize winner Hao Weimin, Oscar winner Tan Dun, International Chopin Prize pianist Li Yundi, Juan Antonio Samaranch, Kevan Gosper, Olympic Gold Medallists Yang Yang, Luo Xuejuan and Lou Yun, corporate CEOs, acclaimed academics and many more.

In his opening address, Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd, in his opening remarks, welcomed the world to the Centre for the Mind's second What Makes A Champion? forum in Beijing. The Prime Minister also spoke briefly in Mandarin, exhorting the participants to "work hard and do not give up in the face of adversity."

In three facilitated panels of conversations, questions and answers, some of the world’s greatest champions talked about how it really is.  Not just the up side but the whole story.  What makes them go, what makes them win, what is hard and what comes easily? Is championship is born or bred.? Is it transferable? Is it shaped by culture and society? Tan Dun & Allan Snyder
Acclaimed composer Tan Dun
with Allan Snyder

What Makes a Champion?™ 2008 was jointly organised by the Centre for the Mind and Peking University. As an official Olympic Cultural Event, it was supported by the Beijing Organising Committee for the Games of the XXIX Olympiad (BOCOG) and the International Olympic Committee (IOC). The forum was also the highlight of Peking University's 110th anniversary celebrations.

Ian Thorpe
Olympian Ian Thorpe speaks at What Makes a Champion?

What Makes a Champion?™ 2008 Organising Committee

  • Kevan Gosper - Member, International Olympic Committee

  • Alex Hamill - Media Manager, Australian Olympic Team

  • Zhenliang He - Delegate, International Olympic Committee

  • Jiang Xiaoyu - Executive Vice-President, BOCOG

  • Allan Snyder FRS - Director, Centre for the Mind, University of Sydney

  • Zhihong Xu - President, Peking University

Peking University

Peking University logo

Click here for to link to the Chinese-language
What Makes a Champion?™ Beijing 2008 web site

WMC2008 China site

WMC 2008 Panel
What Makes a Champion? panel with former British Prime Minister Tony Blair


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