Sunday, August 24, 2008

Olympics. Over for another 4 years.

Well, the closing ceremony of the Beijing 2008 Olympics is this evening (their timezone is 2 hours behind us). Our little family is having Chinese take-away in salute.

China put (I've heard) $40 billion USDs into these games. London apparently has a budget less than half that. Sydney's final budget in 2000 was substantially less even than that, made a small profit, and the state of NSW got some new, 1st class sporting venues which we still use. (Melbourne still has the MCG - upgraded for the 1956 Olympics). China's venues are apparently use-once facilities. I have to note that 40 billion is a pretty high PR bill - because it seems that's what it was.

Fine things were expected, promised even as a result of Beijing hosting the Olympics. Improvements in observance of human rights, more openness, a less autocratic state. From what I see, that didn't happen. China ran 'business as usual' as a totalitarian state.

The media had a chance to measure China against those expectations. They didn't. A chance to soften China's hard hand was lost.

Having said that, Australia did quite well though. By weighted measure according to some, best. More on our athlete's accomplishments here.

Sadly, the Olympics these days is less about just competing, and 'the glory of sport', and more about nationalism. That arguably has it's good and bad side (better countries do battle on the sports fields than the battlefield for national kudos methinks). Biased I unarguably am, but to me, the Sydney Olympics were a friendlier, more sports orientated event rather than a political statement. Others can make a more objective call on that, and I'm sure some shall.

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2 Comments:

Blogger Peter (Worldman): said...

I watched the closing ceremony and it was spectacular. No wonder with all the money spent.

I saw life the performance of your guy winning the Gold medal in the high jump with the stick (I forgot how you call it in English).

And I was surprised to see Roger Federer and other Swiss professional sportsmen participate in the Games. I thought that only amateurs could participate. Well, perhaps in a few years they will have Coca Cola and Toyota logos on their dresses.

Monday, August 25, 2008 6:21:00 pm  
Anonymous Phil said...

Hi Peter.

In english, that was called the 'pole vault'.

Daunting, but Steve Hooker did well

Monday, August 25, 2008 8:20:00 pm  

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