Beijing 2008 and Sydney 2000 Olympics

Beijing 2008 and Sydney 2000 Olympics Pins

Beijing 2008 and Sydney 2000 Olympics Pins

Sydney

Tomorrow we’re going to the Hunter Valley for two days.  This is one of New South Wales’ popular wine regions, only two hours from Sydney.  Last night Clive and I were discussing wineries while watching the Beijing Olympics Opening Ceremony, and it reminded me of my Lindemans Sydney 2000 Olympics pin.

My Asia Pacific position took me regularly to Beijing, and I love visiting this fascinating city.  In honour of Beijing 2008 and in memory of Sydney 2000, I’ve propped my Sydney pin on my desk, alongside a Beijing one I bought in China.

Notwithstanding the usual pre-Olympics issues and Beijing’s often-filthy air, which I experienced on every trip there (along with rare blue-sky moments), being part of a city’s run-up to the Games and being there during the Games is a magical experience.  I understand the pride and happiness of the Chinese as their country hosts Beijing 2008.

As a dual Australian-American citizen who has lived Down Under for the last 13 years, I’m cheering for the Aussies, and love the fact that our Prime Minister, Kevin Rudd, conducts his meetings with Hu Jintao and Chinese officials in Mandarin.  Australians are great sportspeople, keen competitors who love a fair go and love to win, but also recognise excellence and are gracious when other athletes and countries win, too. 

Australia is only 2 hours ahead of China, so we are seeing events live.  We thought the Opening Ceremony was impressive, beautiful, long, and sometimes boring, as they seem to be in this era of theatrical productions which must include all possible elements of national history, culture, and recognition of key constituencies.  It was stunning in many ways, but, as the Aussies say, “a bit OTT”, or over the top, in others. 

One of the Australian TV commentators said the opening dance was “The Search for the Lost Contact Lens” and Clive thought the opera singing was “similar to the sound you hear when you tread on a cat’s tail.”  But it’s the Olympics, and it’s part of the spectacle and part of the fun.

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