OLYMPICS August 25, 2008Posted by wmmbb in Humankind/Planet Earth.
I am inclined to agree based on the Opening and Closing ceremonies that the Beijing Olympics were spectacular, the venues impressive, the overall organization efficient, and the level of achievement in the individual events and the level of the team events were as good as, or in some cases surpassed, previous games. On that basis the heading on ABC Online that they were “a truly exceptional Olympics” is probably correct as far as it goes.
We should in the spirit of inclusiveness, applaud the Chinese their success in staging the games and for winning the medal count, at least in Gold medals. They after all represent one-quarter of humanity and one of the oldest continuous civilizations. In some ways the Olympics again demonstrated that China absorbs and co-opts other cultures, including Western influences, which is not to say that the impact has not being devastating for the last two hundred years or so. Although, what is happening in the western-most provinces of Xinjiang and Tibet is more akin to cultural domination and violence, nor is it likely that resistance will cease.
I would like to have seen more of the athletes kicking up their heels at the Closing Ceremony. I suppose one has to expect extravaganzas from authoritarian governments rather than spontaneity. It would a good thing if the United Kingdom would adopt a new anthem, and on that basis if I am still alive I think I will give London a miss, which I think might make it the third time that city has held the Olympic Games. It is about time that the former colonies and dominions, such as Australia and New Zealand changed their flags by removing the Union Jack. With any luck there will not be a Union in four years time – but perhaps that is too much to hope for.
It occurs to me that the enduring legacy of the Olympics for the people of Beijing may not be the monuments that were built but the relatively clear skies and cleaner air. If that is the case, the social implications will be interesting in the future.
I had not understood what a big deal the Olympics games were to China. According to Jim Yardley in The New York Times:
The elaborate closing ceremony that ended the Olympic Games on Sunday also ended nearly a decade in which the ruling Communist Party had made the Games an organizing principle in national life. Almost nothing has superseded the Olympics as a political priority in China.
And now they are a big deal for London, but with a lesser budget.