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Chinese Characters Tattoos Popular in Universiade

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For swimmers at the 2009 Universiade, tattoos may beautify their body but Chinese character tattoos bring fortune to them.

The swimmers from across the countries had their b odies adorned with tattoos of Chinese characters. Other styles of tattoos like biker, Celtic, Japanese, Maori, erotic, fairy, and animals were also seen as swimmers swam in the Universiade swimming pool near the famous Saint Markus. But Chinese characters were etched on the bodies of many swimmers.

Alena Nyvltova, Czech backstroke swimmer says: "On my back, the Chinese character tattoo is 'fu' which means fortunate, I hope the fortune will stay with me forever. And the tattoo on my leg is 'Ming Yun, meaning destiny. I wish I can grasp my own fate," she said, adding," my teammates choose Chinese characters tattoos for their rich meaning.

She says Chinese character is just like a Chinese box to me, full of mystery. You never know what is in the inside. But these characters are meaningful and also beautiful.

Like Nyvltova, Petra Chocava also has Chinese characters tattoos etched on her body. One on her back, a tatoo "neng" means energy. The other is on her waist-"Jian Kang " meaning health. The one on her belly is "Sha", meaning sand.

"I love sand, and always go to the beach. And this character looks so beautiful," says Chocava.

In butterfly race swimming pool, Italy swimmer Paolo Bossin shows his Chinese characters tattooed on his leg - Xing, Shui, Ai, which means fortunate, water and love. He says all the three things are important to me.

A swimmer from Poland sitting next to Bossin, shows off his tattoo on his chest, which says "Yong," meaning brave.

At the entrance of the swimming pool, guard Dales has "sheng" meaning god tattooed on his hand and "Di" (brother) on his neck. "I am the little brother in my family, so I tattooed it.

While the trend signifies the faith and respect the swimmers have in Chinese characters, tattoos also reflect the general public's fascination with the art form.

Soccer star David Beckham has tattooed his body with a Chinese proverb: "Death and life have determined appointments. Riches and honor depend upon heaven." The proverb is etched on his left nipple extending to his groin.

(Xinhua News Agency July 11, 2009)

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