Beijing 2008

I’ve been looking forward to these games ever since I saw the last Olympic games. Let me share a story:

It was the summer of 2004 (obviously) and I was about to enter high school. My family and I were at the Wisconsin Dells, a popular Wisconsin vacation city. We were winding down for the night after engaging in the mainly water-themed activities of the day. The TV was on and we channel-surfed for a good channel to sit on. Good thing the Olympics were on or else we probably would have had to settle for the white noise of the local news.

It’s the most peculiar thing. The 110m men’s hurdle finals were being shown. I watched, although I really had no desire for the Olympic games. In all honesty, I just wanted to root for the Asian guy; that Asian guy won. Originally I had no intentions to pursue a sport in high school, but that changed that summer night. I was going to be a hurdler — no doubt.

And so that began my spiral into the hurdles, and that passion continues to the date of this entry (and hopefully further). I don’t know if I’m going to pursue sports in college. Perhaps I’ll watch the race this year and be reinspired. I’d love to continue racing, but we’ll see. I never watched the rest of the games outside of that summer night.

This was the first year I watched an opening ceremony for the Olympics. I missed it by two hours, so I saw only the parade and the lighting of the flame.

I was welling up throughout a significant portion of the ceremony. It’s just so beautiful. I think it’s the idea of the Olympics that really strikes a chord in me. The theme that China was trying to get at was unity — one world and one dream, I think. Like I mentioned in a separate entry, unity speaks volumes on my view of humanity. To see it “realized” and personified in the Olympics is so glorious. That’s how I want to leave my mark on the world. I want whatever I do in life to be similar, in regards to symbolism, of China’s opening ceremony for the 2008 Beijing Olympic games.

Here are just some other thoughts and comments I had while watching:

  • Precision. I heard my local news station describe the opening ceremony as that. If I had to identify any world culture with precision, I would identify the Chinese. That’s mainly because I think of their history with the martial arts; moreover, I’m sure that precision extends to other aspects of the culture too (i.e. acupuncture, maybe?). Precision, precision, precision. It is the difference and the mark of an educated man.
  • I cheered when I saw Laos. Rarely do I sense a nationalism within me, but for the few moments that Laos graced the screen I felt a new interest in declaring my ethnic identity. It then threw me into the thought progression of what do multicultural individuals do? Root for their Irish, Welsh, and German heritage? I wouldn’t like that, personally. If my allegiance is to lie somewhere, it will lie with one team.
  • The torch bearer who lit the Olympic flame was ballin’. He had balls to run around the inner-perimeter of the Bird’s Nest — and way up there too.
  • I wanted to see Liu Xiang carry the flag during the Parade of Nations, and I wanted to see Jackie Chan carry the torch. It does seem more fitting for Yao Ming to carry the flag, and former Olympic athletes to carry the torch. But I would have liked my way too.
  • I feel like I’m getting more susceptible to my emotions. I recall riding in the car with my family one day and wanting to tear up because it looked so nice outside (I was looking at a forest). But I think the beauty of the Olympics is worth tearing up for.
  • The Olympics are joga bonito. That 110m Men’s Hurdles is going to be so raw. Liu Xiang, former world record holder at 12.88s and the gold medal favorite, pitched up against Dayron Robles, the up and coming Cuban native who just recently broke Xiang’s record at 12.87s. This race is going to forge a new world record. Liu Xiang will win.
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1 comment
  1. Erin said:

    I think that’s awesome that you were inspired to pursue a sport because you watched a race on the Olympics. It’s amazing how good those athletes are at what they do, the extents to which they can push their bodies. Such talent, such strength, such passion displayed at the Olympic games. It’s really incredible to watch, and it certainly does not surprise me that you found it inspiring.

    I had never really watched an Opening Ceremony until this year, either. I did not see the whole thing, as I was flipping back and forth between preseason Eagles football, but from what I did see, the show that China put on was absolutely mind-blowing. It was beautiful. And yes, “precision” can definitely fit well to describe the event, as everything was executed so flawlessly, so beautifully… everyone and everything was where it was supposed to be, and there was definitely so much attention paid to the details to create such a magnificent show. It was really, really awesome.

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