Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Morning Breifing Eye Openers

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Morning Breifing Eye Openers

Article excerpt

Ma's Army and the rest of China's athletes at the Asian Games in Japan are going cold turkey on turtle blood, Reuters News Service reports. Much to the relief of the tortoises in Great Wall country.

Chinese swimming coach CHEN YUNPENG said Wednesday the sporting elixir made famous by his colleague, track coach MA JUNREN, would not be on the menu - turtle on the half-shell, anyone? - during the Games, being held in Hiroshima.

"According to the customs law of Japan, no live animals are permitted to be brought into the country, so we didn't bring any turtles with us. And as we can't afford to buy any here, the swimmers won't be eating them," said Chen, obviously a student of that well-known scrutable master of logic, FO RREST GUMP.

China's jealously guarded recipe of turtle blood, honey, ginseng and mystery Chinese herbs was revealed last summer to be the secret weapon behind the phenomenal success of Ma's long-distance women runners and Chen's unbeatable squad of female swimmers.

"The turtle diet has a long-term strengthening effect and is not considered to give athletes any kind of short-term boost," Chen said. "So the lack of turtle should not influence their results."

But Chen up, Yupeng, there might be a solution right there in Sushi City.

Seems that a sign outside the door of the health food shop in Hiroshima's ritziest department store declares, "The Drink of Ma's Army Has Arrived in Japan."

Anyone with a yen for the brew can buy a finger-size bottle of "Ma Jia Jun No. 1 Oral Liquid, Top Class Tonic" for a paltry $7. An accompanying brochure listing the contents notes that snapping turtle gives the elixir a special taste.

It adds that vegetated wasp contributes to the beverages's "strange and unusual" qualities.

No argument there.

Add Chen Music: But the much ado about turtles could be a variation of the old shell game. A close look at a bottle of "Ma Jia Jun No. 1 Oral Liquid, Top Class Tonic" shows that, along with all the advertised exotica, most of what is inside is water. …

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