So scary it's got to be true; this rather harsh but probably very efficient take on behavioural training is just what you'd expect from the nation that's taking the 2008 Olympics VERY seriously.
From the mostly excellent Observer Sports monthly:
Take time to acknowledge all that arduous training when Olympians are awarded their medals, not only the athletes but the red suited 'victory ceremony hostesses' who will present flowers to the winners.
Selected after a long series of auditions, the hostesses have spent months learning how to smile, walk and look bow according to strict rules. Good posture has been ensured by a drill requiring the hostesses to stand with a book on their heads while clutching a sheet of paper between their knees (try it folks, it works!).
Smiles which must reveal 'only six to eight teeth', were strengthened by marathon sessions of chopstick-biting. "By the end of the class, our lips were numb", said one hostess, "but after several days, the smile came naturally".
We've been designing host roles and figuring out behaviours at Engine - using actors, props, costumes, scripts... that's part of the fun of being a Service Designer. I hadn't thought of chomping chop-sticks to train a smile though.