Canada’s Ivy Liao speaks from inside Chengdu’s ping pong bubble


Play episode:

1:20: The FIFA World Cup is approaching. How much buzz will there be in China?

3:23: Mike Pompeo was in Taiwan this week and Mark had a passing glimpse

5:39: The Chinese women’s basketball team is into the semis at the FIBA World Cup and could challenge for a medal for the first time in 28 years.

9:33: Eileen Gu poses for her first day at school as she joins a strong list of student athletes at Stanford

12:36: Chess has been in the news for all the wrong reasons recently and a Chinese woman grandmaster has been on the end of some sexist comments

15:11: Beijing 2022 mascot Bing Dwen Dwen rides off into the sunset

18:52: The World Team Table Tennis Championships kick off this week in Chengdu, just weeks after the city exited a lockdown, showing just how important the sport is to China.

22:04: Our guest this week is Ivy Liao, a Canadian table tennis player competing in Chengdu. She speaks to us from inside the bubble.

22:23: Liao tells the story of her arduous journey to Chengdu, with all international athletes having to take a charter flight from with Dubai or Singapore, as she prepared to compete in Zero-COVID conditions.

24:38: The mental side looms large in athletes’ minds when playing in a bubble. What lies ahead for players at the event?

27:00: But have the Chinese players been mixing with players from other countries at all?

31:00 The nature of team competition: competing against an international teammate versus only playing someone from another country.

34:57: Why is China so good at table tennis and how can the rest of the world catch up?

40:20: Over the years, dozens of players from China have naturalized overseas in order to represent other countries in international competition. How are these “exports” viewed within the game?

46:40: Liao talks about her previous visits to China and connecting with her own Chinese heritage.