Friday, August 22, 2008

At the Olympics Part 3

These have been outstanding games for both GB and NZ. We have seen great medals for both countries. Britain is currently in 3rd place in the medal table and NZ is in third place in the medals per head of population table.

We went to Tianamin square. It is a strange combination of big modern architecture reminiscent of Moscow or Bucharest and the Forbidden City featured in the Last Emperor on one side. There are many Olympic exhibits currently on display in what is the largest "town square" in the world. It is impossible not to imagine the famous incident with the tank and the student. In some ways it is encouraging to see people from all over the world in the square. In other ways you know that all that is there can be swept away in a day. How much has changed beneath all that has been built is not an easy question to answer.

China has an amazing depth of cultural and artistic history but the impact of the "Cultural Revolution" continues to be significant. It is a fascinating country, with great people and a significant and growing global influence. What that influence will look like in the coming years will come down to who is in power. I doubt that we will see another revolution but the olympics may contribute in a small way to a process of evolution. I believe that the future of China will only be resolved by the Chinese rather than by external influence but that international communication will benefit everyone.

Old China has a wealth of art which is sometimes missing in the more utilitarian structures of recent history. The famous Smog was not really in evidence but the absence of bird life is noticeable. The canaries seem to have died already! This makes the naming of the stadium slightly ironic.

The new buildings are sensational but were mostly designed by Western architects. They are some of the most outstanding facilities I have seen and I doubt that buildings of this extravagance will ever be built again for an Olympics.

One of the unfortunate things is the way that Olympic Green is surrounded by a wire security fence so there is no access unless you have a ticket for the days events. Alongside the scale of the buildings there is also an attention to detail.

These lights besides the pathways pick up the design of the Birds Nest. No expense has been spared on Olympic Green.

We had seats one night in the 3rd last row in the highest section of the Birds Nest and the next night in row 2 literally 2 meters from the start of the 110m Hurdles.

The gun went off and they all fell over!

We got a great view of Nick Willis winning bronze in the 1500m. This was a great result and a big encouragement to his family and the folks at Lower Hutt Baptist Church.

We had a great time at the Triathalon which was in a great location although getting back from it demonstrated all that was worst about the supposedly "integrated transport system".

In the athletics we especially enjoyed Isinbayeva's world Record in the Pole Vault, Usain Bolt in the 200m and Christine Ohuruogu's gold in the 400m.If you missed any of my tweets on the Sparc website I have archived them on the "Not the Blog" in 4 posts. Go to my profile on here and click on that link from there. You need to start with number 1 and start at the bottom and scroll up.

It can be a tiring experience for supporters and volunteers as well as athletes.

Stephen has put more of my photos online at:

Some things are more difficult to understand. Like why are Relay Batons so hard to hold on to and why was this guy walking with a girl under his left arm?

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