Athletic Track's Squared-Off Lanes Impress Officials, Inhibit Runners

When life gives you lemons, make lemonade. When funding cuts give you a damaged athletic track, you... cut corners and pave the turns into right angles? That's exactly what staff at a Heilongjiang, China sports center did when governmental bigwigs sprung a surprise visit and employees wanted the track to look sharp.

According to the sports center's staff as an interviewed by NetEase, the athletic field had been deteriorating for some time. The unsaid implication implicated tight-fisted governmental supervisors who put the squeeze on funding but when said officials announced they'd be visiting the center, staff found themselves in an uncomfortable bind. 

“Since the senior officials from the province would come and investigate the construction,” explained one staffer, “we therefore paved this for a while so as to deal with them. We also think the running tracks look ugly,” continued the staffer. “Though, who could change it when the senior officials didn't want to change?”  Can't argue with that logic, amiright?

Anyhow, it seems the quick & easy fix was to pave the track's turns into right angles instead of more finicky radius curves. As the track's true nature wasn't obvious from the low viewing angle afforded the visiting officials, the unorthodox solution was actually quite innovative.

To be fair, squaring the track must have seemed like a good idea at the time. The officials wouldn't be running any races and as no athletic events had been scheduled, no athletes would be forced to cope with the bizarre and unexpected angles at speed.

The sports center staffers must have heaved a huge communal sigh of relief when the officials left, evidently satisfied, with the staff in the clear. Pity their clever scheme was exposed by NetEase and has gone viral across China... wonder who's running now? (via Shanghaiist)