Aug 27, 2014, 4:44 PM EST
Yao Ming has been quite visible at the Youth Olympics, and not just because he’s one of the tallest Olympians ever.
The Chinese basketball star toured Nanjing as a Youth Olympic ambassador. He stopped for a sitdown chat with Lewis Johnson to look back on his Olympic experience and update on what he’s been doing since retiring in 2011.
Yao said he’s back in college to finish his studies in economic management, with one year left to get a degree.
“A different story now compared to my sports days,” he said. “A lot of paperwork. My neck is a little bit sore.”
He also said seeing the teenage athletes at the Games reminded him of childhood travel.
“Some people maybe for the first time are outside of their country,” Yao said. “I remember my first time outside of the country at 17 years old, heading to Paris. It’s a big change. It’s a big step and also changed a lot for my view.”
Finally, Johnson handed Yao a memorable image from the 2008 Beijing Olympic Opening Ceremony, when Yao led the host nation into the Bird’s Nest with Lin Hao, a 9-year-old survivor of that year’s Sichuan earthquake.
“It’s a lot of emotion,” Yao said, reflecting. “The kid, he saved two of his classmates after the earthquake happened. You can see the scar on his head right there. What kind of heart he had right at this age. … That represents the future of China.”
NBCSN coverage of the Youth Olympics continues Wednesday (7-8 p.m. ET) and concludes Thursday with the Closing Ceremony (6:30-8).
- Tara Lipinski, Johnny Weir at Super Bowl Media Day (video) 0
- Galen Rupp talks training with Mo Farah, marathons, weird drug test story 0
- Russian Olympic, World champions get doping bans 0
- Lindsey Vonn, Mikaela Shiffrin lead World Alpine Skiing Championships women’s preview 1
- Rio 2016 Olympic torch relay details announced 0
- K.C. Boutiette returns to World Cup speed skating for first time since 2006 0
- Tori Bowie ‘going after medals’ after breakthrough season 0
- Emotional Bode Miller medals in race that mattered most (61)
- Russian women kissing after relay victory at World Championships causes stir (60)
- IOC drops wrestling from 2020 Olympics (47)
- South Korea filing official complaint over Yuna Kim’s Olympic silver (39)
- Zola Budd, 47, dominates college runners in 5K (33)