Two more days to go and we are off again for that one of a kind sport event: the Olympic Games in Beijing! I love them. There was a time that I would be glued to my couch to watch as much as possible. Even weightlifting could make me feel rather excited! Archery, swimming, atletics, wrestling, horseriding, sailing, tennis, cycling, judo and many more are for three weeks all my favourite sports. Every four years I become a true Olympic fanatic and try to keep up with all the atletes. A sport in its own!
These last months Olympic fever got rather high. That China got them in the first place is rather a difficult issue. The Chinese people consider it an honor but at the same time they just call it something normal. Organising the Olympics is a symbol of being treated as a grown up. The 1,35 miljard Chinese already were waiting for 100 years to get them! A few years ago the IOC told China that they were unable to organise such a sporting event because of air pollution. And when you look at the pictures of Beijing you know these guys were right to say so!
A few years ago the New York Times described competing in Beijing as following:'Beijing you can compare with an athlete who is trying to get into shape by running on a traidmill but at the same time is eating a double cheeseburger!' Most athletes know that they will have a hard time to breathe or catch a breath of clean air when they enter the Bird's Nest. For the very first time in history many sportive souls will blame the air when they won't win a medal! Or when it is again a Chinese it will be the best excuse ever:'Well, he/she is used to competing in such circumstances!'
To make things even worse many people got Tibet back in the picture. It even caused stress because the Olympic flame was attacked a few times. Even the Daila Lama had to say outloud that he thaught that the Olympics were a very good thing and that this isn't the right place and time to deal with his beloved homeland! For the record try not to find a Chinese Olympic athlete who agrees that Tibet should be independent. Many young Chinese can't think of China without Tibet. It is just one of their rightful provinces they own and this is historical justified!
Finally the big boss of the IOC: Jacques Rogge (Belgian!!!!) is asked to resign! Some human rights organisations think that he didn't deal well with the situation. China and human rights are not succesful combination. Rogge stays very calm and poised when asked why he thinks Beijing is worth the Olympic Games. Sports and politics seem to be entangled very closely. In the end he just says that he still thinks that it will be worth in the end.
China is ready for the games: 'One World One Dream', is the slogan they choose for these games. They will show the rest of the world what they are worth and it will be a lot more then just all the things you have bought with the label: made in China! Many Chinese have been dreaming to compete in this event but only a few will have gotten through. Here they create Olympic heroes when they are four and you can forget it when you are ten and wake up after dreaming of becoming an Olympic athlete! The chosen one are the ones that will give China what it is really after: worldy recognition! They want to be treated as grown ups!
The Olympic stadium is a real architectural pearl and the Water Cube where the swimmers and divers are to perform is so magnificent that you just want to dive in! And to make sure that we were not going to forget these Olympic games the Chinese introduce very proudly not just one mascot but five Fuwa: Beibei (fish), Jingjing(panda), Yingying (Tibetan antelope), Nini ( swallow) and Hucinhuan (the Olympic flame) are the chosen ones to be the olympic embassadors. A friend of mine has them and they are so cute!!! When I get my hands on them my money won't be safe anymore!
The lucky atletes who conquered the air, water, fire, earth of Beijing will be able to take home one of the precious medals. This round piece of precious metal is inspired by 'bi', an ancient jade piece and inscribed with dragon patterns. It stands for nobilty, virtue, ethics and honor. So when you end up on the stage you will be treated like a king or queen! And when you can catch again your breath you will be able to eat the olympic delicacy: roasted 'lucky' duck!
I wonder what Pierre de Coubertin would have thaught about these games. Pierre wanted to make sure that the French got their education system back into shape. These games had to represent four principals: to strive to perfection, represent a moral elite, create a truce and glorify beauty! The aim of this all: make men!!! In case of the Olympic Games of Beijing: one nation will be made bigger then ever. ''Bei Jing Huan Ying Ni." (meaning: Welcome to Beijing!, just add up the five mascots and you can speak Chinese!)
P.S.: Want to know more just surf to: http://en.beijing2008.cn/. And Kim, Oliver, Sven, Tia, Evy, Karin, Ilse, Steven, Tim, Joris, Dirk, Carolijn, Hans, Nathalie, Mathieu, Filip, Kenny, Bob, Kevin, François, Veerle, Iljo, Kristof, Dirk, and the other Belgian Olympic heroes just keep in mind: participating is more important then winning. But then some jade would look nice in your living room!