A year ago today The Olympic Games began here in Beijing. They were fun times, no doubt about it. In case you're new to this blog, please follow the links below to read about some of my Olympic adventures.
You can also go here to see some of my photos of the Games.
And finally……Mike Meyers, who wrote a wonderful book called "Last Days of Old Beijing," has written an article for Sports Illustrated reflecting on Beijing a year later. The article is titled One World One Dream One Year Later.
What is the legacy of the Beijing Olympics? Western
perceptions of China tend to plant their standards at the poles of
enchantment and apprehension: Witness the reaction to the opening
ceremonies, during which many viewers' impressions slid along a
continuum of awe at the sight of thousands of drummers and flying
sylphs to the uneasy realization that a production of that scale is
only possible in a nation with an enormous population and resources,
and a government powerful enough to mobilize them. If they can do this,
what can't they do?
The performances of Chinese athletes
during the Games confirmed the country's formidability. Shortly after
Beijing was awarded the Olympics, in 2001, China devised Project 119—an
initiative named for the number of gold medals awarded (only one to a
Chinese athlete) at the 2000 Games in track and field, swimming,
rowing, sailing, and canoeing and kayaking. The plan was to boost the
country to the top of the medal standings. China finished with its
highest total ever, 100 medals, 51 of them gold (sidebar, page 70). Only the U.S. won more, 110 total, though just 36 were gold.
despite the Beijing Olympics' spectacle and success—officials claimed
the Games made a $146 million profit—the capital is feeling the
hangover that comes after hosting the world's biggest-ever coming-out
party. Beijing is learning, as host cities have in the past, that the
Games' influence is often extinguished with the torch. (The hangover
was not soothed, of course, by the simultaneous near collapse of the
world's economy.) A year after the Olympics, Beijing residents still
cannot drink the tap water, or surf an unfiltered Internet, or exercise
in safe air.
Read the whole thing.
And for bonus points, read his book!