BEIJING OLYMPICS 2008 – 1ST IMPRESSIONS

I arrived to a very hazy and humid Beijing on the day that China’s “coming-out ” party begins, wishing for some rain to break, as l meet up with some friends in an ex-pat bubble in the suburbs. This wish for some rain in the summer is not a dissimilar one for me to make on trips to South Asia during the summer particularly with this level of humidity.

Clearly we do not want any rain during the opening ceremony but certainly for all the athletics sake, abit of rain would not go amiss, helping to move the haze away. Indeed l understand this was attempted by putting silver iodide rockets into the clouds to force them to rain just before the games.  Sadly the haze has returned and something similiar will be needed to break the humidity as much as anything else like pollution levels.

In Athens in 2004, the Greeks were in celebratory mood right from the beginning of their Olympics as their boys had become European National Football Champions completely out of the blue, a few months earlier.  With the Chinese the focus has been more on the security of the games and getting their big night right with the opening ceremony rather then enjoying it but l’m sure that will come later on in the two weeks of sporting festivity that is the Olympics.

After seeing the ceremony last night, London clearly has a big act to follow but l have got to confess l find most openings rather naff.  So bring  on the sports as soon as possible starting with the basketball match between China and US on sunday night. Do not forget that Sydney 2000 had a similiarly impression opening but do most of us remember that in comparison to the very emotional Cathy Freeman winning the 400 m women race for herself and Australia. Now thats why l came on this holiday to see moments like that again here in Beijing and l am sure l’ll see them.