Saturday, August 9, 2008

More competition...One World One Dream

The Olympic Opening ceremonies in Beijing, China were televised tonight. We have a huge screen tv, you know, because I love tv and watch a lot of it. It provides 62" of crystal clear images espcially when the show is broadcast in hi def as all the Olympic coverage will be.

The ceremonies were so magnificent it was not to be believed, except it was happening right before my eyes in High Def no less! Here is a link to the Opening Ceremonies and it doesn't have any spoiler info on this page. The Official Website does have spoilers, because they have already completed some of the events. One reason was there were just so many people and events they had to start before the opening ceremony, and another is they are 12 hours ahead of the US.

Yao Ming, a professional basketball player for the Houston Rockets in the states, carried the Chinese flag, his home country in the entry. He is 7' 6" and at his side was one of the little boys who survived the tragic earthquake in Sichuan province last month. They 9 year old boy was able to free himself of the rubble at his school and then went back into it to save two of his classmates. When he was asked why he went back in, he replied that it was his duty to take care of the other kids and that he was a hall monitor, so it was what he had to do. They were very much the pair. To see a picture of them walking the route click here. It is a link to Getty Images. There are also pictures of the unbelievable fireworks display at the bottom of that page. Oh my gosh they were so beautiful. And Dirk Nowitzki of Germany will be playing for his home country of Germany and was their flag bearer, too.

We watch the Olympics every time it comes around, because we love seeing the greatness that can come out in the athletes. There have been some unforgettable moments over the years. Like Bella Karoli carrying our gymnast, Kerri Strug, after she hurt her ankle so badly, and who could forget Nadia, if you aren't too young. And conversely there was Tanya Harding and Nancy Kerrigan in the winter Olympics. There have been many moments of greatness and some really poor sportsmanship over the years we have been able to view the Olympics on television. Something that didn't happen before sometime in the 50s or 60s. The games were televised live in 1936, but there were very few television sets as you might imagine during the depression and the beginning of World War II. Special viewing rooms were set up in Berlin and Potsdam. By 1940 WWII had started and the games were canceled. The summer games didn't resume until 1948 and were held in London and the winter games in St. Moritz, Switzerland the same year.

There are issues about human rights and the Chinese government, but hopefully the games will not be ruined by either side. It is a time for which the Olympians have trained for four years or more. However, it was shocking to see ground to air missiles covered in camo just outside the birds nest, Beijing National stadium, on the news the other evening. It has been said by analysts on the BBC news site that this is the most politicized Olympic games since the Cold War.


  1. I missed it last night because we had other plans but will get into it now. Thanks for the update on the start of it. Have a great weekend.

  2. Yea... I have a feeling the politics of this Olympics is going to interfere with my enjoyment of them. I didn't watch the opening ceremonies last night. I'm going to just stick to the events that I really enjoy for this one. Mostly the gymnastics and diving events. I'll watch some other stuff too as they criss cross back and forth through the evening... but I don't think I'll be GLUED to them this time like I usually am.

  3. Since I was a child the "peacemaking" efforts of the Olympics has baffled me. Competition DOESN'T build unity. IT is a definite "us against them" mind set.

  4. Funny you should mention the Berlin games. They presented a highly sanitized version of a hosting nation with major issues. Just like the current ones. And in the former case, that sanitized image bedazzled the eyes of many, particularly in the US, until it was almost too late.

    I disagree with Quilly about the games being competition. Ritual combat as a substitute for the real thing has existed on this planet since the invention of flatworms. It exists precisely for the purpose of settling disputes, rivalries, etc. without resorting to tactics that can actually maim or kill - usually a bad idea when the survival of a species is at stake. Which is why I worry when actual combat is intruded into the rituals of sports - and worse, is egged on by television ratings. To one who understands the history and uses of rituals, the chest-bumping, trash-talking, steel-bar wielding, garbage that has intruded into sports of late are the heralds of the Four Horseman, and should have been shunned by the viewing public long ago. Since We have not, I guess we deserve what we get. Like when the Tokyo Games of 1940 were cancelled because We were already fighting a real war.