Sport in China has been long associated to the martial arts. Today China (including mainland China, Hong Kong and Macau) consists of a variety of competitive sports. Traditional Chinese culture regards physical fitness as an important characteristic. China has its own national quadrennial multi-sport event similar to the Olympic Games called the National Games.
According to the Chinese Basketball Association, there is a record number of around 300 million active basketball players in China. The largest audience for an event outside of China was drawn at the Yao Ming & Yi Jianlian matchup when 100-200 million Chinese watched live.
Virtually the whole nation stands glued to their television sets, amid parties and wild celebrations.The largest audience for a single sporting event within the boundaries of mainland China was a football match in the Tianhe Stadium in Guangzhou. Football is a popular sport. The average attendance of the Chinese Super League games in 2015 was 22,193 spectators. Badminton and table tennis are also popular sports in China. Prior to the 1990s, sports were entirely funded by the government. Top athletes have quit at the height of their careers due to uncertainty about their livelihoods after retirement, but this situation began to change in 1994 when Chinese football was professionalized, followed by basketball, volleyball, ping pong, and weiqi. Professionalization led to commercialization; this meant that sports associations became profit-making entities and that a club system and professional sports leagues were formed. Sports club operations now cover ticket sales, advertising, club transfers, commercial matches, and television broadcasting. Chinese athletes have also begun joining professional leagues abroad, such as basketball Yao Ming's entry into the United States' NBA in the 2002 draft.
China led the gold medal count (51) at the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing. The event was scheduled for August 8 to August 24, 2008 because the number 8 is a lucky number in Chinese culture. China hosted the 2014 Youth Olympic Games from August 16 to 28, 2014. Beijing the Ultmpics are held in China may year