Saturday, August 30, 2008

Reflection on Olympics

Now the Olympics has finished some reflection reveals my Chinese to have improved (as none of the other Olympic related foreigners could speak Chinese, so mine received plenty of warranted praise!). It also reveals that only the Chinese can make an Olympics so boring with nothing happening outside of the sporting stadia. The no-fun Olympics is an understatement with so little cultural, music, street or other festivities taking place. There were very few protests (though a few did happen for half an hour or so each, before being spotted and curtailed) and very few special events.

I also wonder what the stadiums will be used for afterwards. Though several were University gymnasiums, there were specialist softball, baseball, rowing, fencing, hockey, archery and other stadiums built especially. Since the Chinese are not particularly sporty (though when there are so many of them, really only a small % need to be sporty to use the stadiums!), i wonder what will happen to those minority sports. Anyway, there will always be plenty of tourists wanting to look at the stadiums, so that might keep them busy!

There really was an incredible attention to detail with regards to the environmental features of the Olympic venues; global best practise, fancy new technology and plenty of money was thrown together to do some magnificent things. Now, if that could be expanded across Beijing and across China, that would be fantastic. In fact many were wondering that if Beijing could function perfectly well for 2 months with half of the cars of the road, why not make that temporary restriction a permanent one and improve the traffic and atmosphere for everyone...forever? Not possible was the reply, unfortunately. But at least the public have seen what is possible and have seen the blue sky and might demand more of it, and that would be a good start.

I am sure London will be different; well i hope so. Though we might also be security-obsessed, one hopes there will be more fun, more diversity, a better atmosphere, plenty of protests, much more open stadiums and, probably much more traffic!

Whether we can match Beijing for size is definitely not possible. Beijing created an extra 50 bus lines to transport the hundreds of thousands of volunteers, hundreds of thousands of spectators, tens of thousands of media, tens of thousands of athletes, tens of thousands of VIPs and support crew, tens of thousands of security personnel and who-knows-what-else. This kind of organisational ability and planning is incredible. Such incredible planning. Such excellent execution; A shame about the atmosphere and the legacy!


At 1:24 am, Blogger bruce said...

Speaking Chinese will be vital in the 21st Century. Good job! Bruce H.


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