EDITOR’S NOTE: The following is a guest post from Mary Gu, Regional President & Managing Director of Special Olympics East Asia.

Yao Ming and 20 Special Olympics athletes featured on "One Heart Racing", a popular Chinese reality TV show.

Yao Ming and 20 Special Olympics athletes featured on “One Heart Racing”, a popular Chinese reality TV show.

“One Heart Racing”, a youth centric reality show with nationwide coverage produced by Dragon TV aired on July 12th an episode featuring Yao Ming and his wife Ye Li coaching a team of 20 Special Olympics athletes from Jiuquan City, Gansu Province, for competing in a challenging group race among middle schools across China.

The show and competition is designed to reflect how “Twenty One-Legged Running” changes the spirit of youth as an individual and also as a team. For each episode, teams from different schools compete with each other after a 5-day intensive training while different celebrities are assigned as special coaches for the schools.

Showcasing the growth of teenagers, the reality show has become a great hit especially among online channels. The first episode was rated No.1 in total viewership on Letv.com, which is one of China’s most influential video portals with 50 million daily viewers.

As the Board Member and Global Ambassador for Special Olympics, Yao Ming has selected to support the “Jiuquan Nash – Yao Foundation Special Education School”, which is the first and by far the only special school within Jiuquan area, Gansu Province, China, Yao Ming was one of the founders.

During the episode, Mr. and Mrs. Yao witnessed the efforts of every athlete and encouraged them to live up to their personal best. In the regional qualifier of Gansu Province, the team smiled confidently when facing the challenge from three other elite schools. “I have climbed over another wall!”, shouted by Wang Lu, one athlete of the team.

10.89 second was the time they spent to reach finishing line, almost 1 second faster than any of the previous training result, not to mention that they could not even finish a single race in the beginning of the 5-day training. Though it was still not good enough to have the team qualified for the final competition, Mr. and Mrs. Yao together with millions of Chinese audience, netizens are amazed and proud of what they’ve achieved.

Watch the episode and see photos below.

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