(One World, One Dream) One Year on.
The Olympic Games in Beijing were an important step in bringing the World closer to China, at a crucial time when China is undergoing significant changes. They were the most successful ever Olympics for Chinese athletes. A total of 11,028 athletes from 204 National Olympic Committees competed in 302 events in 28 sports. Chinese athletes won the most gold medals, with 51 golds, and 100 medals altogether. The United States won more total medals than any other country with 110, 36 of which were gold. Michael Phelps broke the records for most gold medals in one Olympics and for most career gold medals for an Olympian, and equaled the record for most individual golds at a single Games.
It has been reported that the Beijing Olympics was the world’s first genuine ‘1 Billion’ television audience. The opening ceremony was the world's "most watched live event" in human history, exceeding moon landings, Princess Diana’s funeral and Barack Obama's inauguration. The show "appealed to the huge domestic Chinese audience but resonated globally too”.
Benefits China have seen from the Olympics include raising the profile of sports and health within China, patriotism has been boosted especially internally as the torch relay and Games themselves helped unite disparate parts of China and especially the younger generation with a common knowledge, and pride in their country.
China have set Aug 6, 7 and 8 as National Fitness Days. “It is arousing people's sense of pride and makes us more patriotic.” Andre, a Chinese student told me “For the environment, Beijing’s sky is blue-r than ever. Transportation gets better too, though we still get traffic jams.” The Chinese have tried to keep pollution levels down in Beijing, with several policies, although some local authorities in the more rural and industrial areas are less favourable than that of Beijing. Beijing has seen the biggest amount of change, with old buildings being pulled down for the Olympic villages, Building new infrastructure adding to the metro system and giving newer lines much-needed air conditioning. Officials also added new rules to the highways to reduce traffic. Whilst losing some history, Beijing, and China are carving a new one; A brave new China.
The government issued a series of about 4,000 temporary measures and regulations on food safety, the environment, traffic management, public safety and health before the Games. Many of them have since been renewed or made permanent. These include ongoing efforts to reduce pollution in Beijing, Beijing is enjoying the best air quality this decade because of measures taken during last year's Olympic Games, officials have said. Officials are introducing new policies to help continue this. As of October 1st, vehicles will only be allowed to travel along or within Beijing's Sixth Ring Road, the city's outermost highway loop, if their exhaust emissions comply with National Emission Standard I. However, as of 2010 Beijing it will be following Standard IV across the city on all new cars.
Some Chinese still think the money could have been better spent though; Kristina explained to me “I would prefer the government to put more money on making the farmers and the poorer people’s life better.” Whilst others are disappointed, that so many traditional buildings were pulled down in the creation of the ‘Olympic City’. “Lots of new and modern buildings make Beijing really strange for me.” A Beijing resident of 32 years, Semmy told me; “There are always lots more tourists than before the games, now it is more crowded than ever.” Whilst there are disappointments, there are a plethora of benefits that can be seen day to day. The economy is growing, in a time of global economic doubt, and the newfound openness is bringing more and more interest in Westerners learning about Chinese culture and the Chinese Language.
Chaoyang Park stadium where the beach volleyball was played out is now The Sun Beach Theme Park where children can bury themselves in sand. Whilst Russian ballet dancers and synchronised swimmers have been wowing the crowds with a version of Swan Lake at the Water Cube. The Birds Nest tonight sees its first sports action as the Italian Cup Final is played between Lazio and Inter Milan, but only after a world record attempt has been attempted. 30,000 people are gathering for a mass display of the martial art tai chi, if successful, it will earn a place in the Guinness Book of Records.
The splendid stadium, with its ornate steel lattice exterior, has been little used since the closing ceremony a year ago; an opera, a couple of pop concerts, yet no sports until tonight. It seems that the tourism (4.5 million visitors who have visited the Bird's Nest since it opened to the public in September 2008. The nearby Water Cube, the National Aquatics Centre, has received 3.8 million people.)has been enough to cover maintenance costs though as thousands flock daily to see the double monument; The Birds Nest stadium and the Water Cube. Despite this lack of sport at the Birds Nest, the Olympics are thought to have made an estimated $174 million profit according to China's National Audit Office.
One sport that seems to have really taken off is Chinese Basketball. The popular sport has seen the NBA investing in Chinese Basketball building 12 new Arenas around the country. Many see Shanghai’s World EXPO next year as the economic Olympics. The Chinese will be looking forward to once again showing themselves off to the world, bringing us another step closer to fully understanding each other’s cultures. The Chinese are now much more confident on a global scale, and it is partially due to the fact that since the Olympic Games and especially the handling of foreign journalists in August last year.
It is worth noting; One of, if not the greatest lasting legacy of the Beijing Olympics has been allowing foreign journalists more access to events taking place in the country. The coverage of the July 5th riots, were much more transparent than that of the riots in Tibet last August, and this just goes to show that China’s confidence is growing with its openness to the West. Though it may have a long way to go, China has seen massive improvements in its Journalism, Pollution and Health reforms. The Chinese mystery is starting to unravel a little, and just enough for people to become more interested in learning Mandarin Chinese and travel to China. All of which have a lot to thank the Olympics for. For me personally, The Olympics were just the start of my adventure, discovering both Mandarin, and China.
The Olympic flag has a white background, with five interlaced rings in the centre: blue, yellow, black, green and red. This design is symbolic; it represents the five continents of the world, united by Olympism, while the six colours are those that appear on all the national flags of the world at the present time.
"Dancing Beijing" is a milestone of the Olympics. It serves as a classic chapter of the Olympic epic inscribed by the spirit of the Chinese nation, calligraphed by the deeper import of the ancient civilization, and molded by the character of Cathay's descendents. It is concise yet deep inside, bringing forth the city's gradual changes and development. It appears dignified yet bears a tune of romance, reflecting the nation's thoughts and emotions.
"Dancing Beijing" the embelem for the 2008 Sumer olympics shows the eastern ways of thinking and the nation's lasting appeal embodied in the Chinese characters. It is an expression that conveys the unique cultural quality and elegance of Chinese civilization.
The color "red" is intensively used in the emblem, it carries Chinese people's longing for luck and happiness and their explanation of life. Red is the color of the Sun and the Holy Fire, representing life and a new beginning. Red is mind at ease, symbol of vitality, and China's blessing and invitation to the world.
The iconic olympic rings and Beijing's ident were complimented with these cute characters. Fuwa served as the Official Mascots of Beijing 2008 Olympic Games, carrying a message of friendship, peace and good wishes from China; to children all over the world.
Designed to express the playful qualities of five little children who form an intimate circle of friends, Fuwa also embody the natural characteristics of four of China's most popular animals and the olympic flame. Each of Fuwa has a rhyming two-syllable name -- a traditional way of expressing affection for children in China. Beibei is the Fish, Jingjing is the Panda, Huanhuan is the Olympic Flame, Yingying is the Tibetan Antelope and Nini is the Swallow.
When you put their names together -- Bei Jing Huan Ying Ni -- they say "Welcome to Beijing," offering a warm invitation that reflects the mission of Fuwa as young ambassadors of the Olympic Games.
Despite many of the troubles on the way, the torch relay was one of the most spectacular things that occur preceeding the games. The torch was carried by 21,880 torchbearers and travelled over 137,000km; making it to the summit of the highest mountain in the world, Olympia - Marathonas - Athens (Greece), Istanbul (Turkey), St. Petersburg (Russia), London (Great Britain) – Paris (France), San Francisco (USA), Buenos Aires (Argentina), Muscat (Oman), Islamabad (Pakistan), Mumbai (India), Bangkok (Thailand), Kuala Lumpur (Malaysia), Jakarta (Indonesia), Canberra (Australia), Nagano (Japan), Seoul (South Korea) and Pyongyang (North Korea) amounst many other places.
Chinese climbers display flags at the top of the 8844.43-meter summit of Mt. Qomolangma (Everest) in southwest China's Tibet Autonomous Region on May 8, 2008. Mt Everest in Chinese is called 珠穆朗玛峰 Zhūmùlǎngmǎ Fēng. (literally meaning bright pearl summit: though 圣母峰 Shèngmǔfēng refers to the sky goddess of the mountain).
The Olympic Flame was carried through London by 80 torchbearers including double Olympic gold medal winner Dame Kelly Holmes and England cricketer Kevin Pieterson. During which time there was an attack, as with other places in the relay, these troubles threatened to put a stop to the incredible tradition. But the epic journey itself is so incredible, hopefully they wont cancel future torch relays.
China invented fireworks, and put on one of the most amazing displays the world has ever seen in the Olympic opening ceremony. It featured a colorful display of nearly 30000 fireworks, and was absolutley spectacular coming from the new National 'Birds Nest' Stadium. Again not to go without controversy, it was revealed that some of the fireworks (about 55 seconds) had been digitally enhanced for the recorded viewing, however that shouldnt really detract from the spectacle, and what was done, was using new technology to create an even more incredible show.
The sparkling display that lit up the night sky included giant dragons, the five Olympic rings, footprints and even smiling faces. The show was divided into several parts and ran throughout the ceremony. The pyrotechnics were not just for the Bird's Nest, but all across Beijing. Fireworks were set off from 29 other locations, including Yongdingmen and Tian'anmen Square.
The very impressive 2008 people hitting drums counting down to the lighting of the torch was reported as “Drum Show” in much of the media. Actually, what they were hitting was not drums. It is called Fou (缶). It is the ancient Chinese container for wine.
In the Qin Dynasty (200 BC), people start to hit the Fou to express welcome to friends, especially for friends from far away. While they hit the Fou (drums), they are reciting the famous quote from Confucius: “有朋自远方来，不亦乐乎？”, or using direct translation: “Friends coming from far away, isn’t it happy enough?”, or a better translation: “Welcome friends from the world”.
The countdown itself was in both English and Chinese numbers.
Above you can see the number 8, and the Chinese symbol for eight 八 (bā).
In the Olympics, it is an IOC rule for countries to enter the stadium in alphabetical order of the local language, so in this case, the Chinese language. Greece always leads the procession with the host country (China - above- for the 2008 Olympics) entering last.
The Chinese do not have an alphabet, so in this case they decided to enter the stadium based upon the number of strokes required to write the first sylable of each country competing. For example; Australia who usually enter third, at the Beijing Olympics entered 202ndrd. You can see the full list of countries in the Chinese 'Alphabetical' system here.
Gymnast Li Ning (China's most decorated athlete at its first Olympics, 1984) lit the torch, appearing to run up the walls of the stadium lighting the Olympic cauldron with the well travelled torch.
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yu2 yu3 xiong2 zhang3 bu4 ke3 jian1 de2
Figuratively speaking, this can mean you must choose one or the other or you can't always get everything you want. However most commonly it is said as this common English idiom:
This proverb is from Mencius (men-ci-us) (c380–289 b.c) A Chinese Confucian philosopher who taught that people are innately good and that one's nature can be enhanced or perverted by one's environment.
This table shows all of the countries that participated in the Beijing 2008 Olympics. Each country is listed in the order that they came out during the opening ceremony. This is also the order that is 'Alphabetical' in the Chinese Mandarin dialect. The order is established by taking the amount of strokes it requires to write the first syllable in Simplified Chinese characters. When two or more are equal, it goes to the next syllable. These are not all the countries in the World, just the 204 that competed at the 2008 Beijing Olympics.
|13||Macedonia (MKD)||前南斯拉夫马其顿共和国||Qián Nánsīlāfū Mǎqídùn Gònghéguó|
|14||Marshall Islands (MHL)||马绍尔群岛||Mǎshàoěr Qúndǎo|
|15||Cayman Islands (CAY)||开曼群岛||Kāimàn Qúndǎo|
|24||Chinese Taipei (TPE)||中华台北||Zhōnghuá Táiběi|
|25||Central African Republic (CAF)||中非||Zhōngfēi|
|26||Hong Kong, China (HKG)||中国香港||Zhōngguó Xiānggǎng|
|37||Papua New Guinea (PNG)||巴布亚新几内亚||Bābùyà Xīn Jǐnèiyà|
|46||Burkina Faso (BUR)||布基纳法索||Bùjīnà Fǎsuǒ|
|64||San Marino (SMR)||圣马力诺||Shèng Mǎlìnuò|
|65||Saint Vincent and the Grenadines (VIN)||圣文森特和格林纳丁斯||Shèng Wénsēntè hé Gélínnàdīngsī|
|66||Saint Lucia (LCA)||圣卢西亚||Shèng Lúxīyà|
|67||São Tomé and Príncipe (STP)||圣多美和普林西比||Shèng Duōměi hé Pǔlínxībǐ|
|68||Saint Kitts and Nevis (SKN)||圣基茨和尼维斯||Shèng Jīcí hé Níwéisī|
|77||Congo (CGO)||刚果（布）||Gāngguǒ (Bù)|
|78||DR Congo (COD)||刚果（金）||Gāngguǒ (Jīn)|
|83||Dominican Republic (DOM)||多米尼加共和国||Duōmǐníjiā Gònghéguó|
|89||Antigua and Barbuda (ANT)||安提瓜和巴布达||Āntíguā hé Bābùdá|
|93||Equatorial Guinea (GEQ)||赤道几内亚||Chìdào Jīnèiyà|
|102||Cook Islands (COK)||库克群岛||Kùkè Qúndǎo|
|103||Saudi Arabia (KSA)||沙特||Shātè|
|106||United Arab Emirates (UAE)||阿联酋||Āliánqiú|
|115||Great Britain (GBR)||英国||Yīngguó|
|116||British Virgin Islands (IVB)||英属维尔京群岛||Yīngshǔ Wéiěrjīng Qúndǎo|
|122||Solomon Islands (SOL)||所罗门群岛||Suǒluōmén Qúndǎo|
|125||Puerto Rico (PUR)||波多黎各||Bōduō Lígè|
|126||Bosnia and Herzegovina (BIH)||波黑||Bōhēi|
|130||South Africa (RSA)||南非共和国||Nánfēi Gònghéguó|
|134||Côte d'Ivoire (CIV)||科特迪瓦||Kētè Díwǎ|
|137||Russia (RUS)||俄罗斯||Éluōsī / Éluósī|
|139||United States (USA)||美国||Měiguó|
|140||Virgin Islands (ISV)||美属维尔京群岛||Měishǔ Wéiěrjīng Qúndǎo|
|141||American Samoa (ASA)||美属萨摩亚||Měishǔ Sàmóyà|
|151||Netherlands Antilles (AHO)||荷属安的列斯||Héshǔ Āndelièsī|
|156||Costa Rica (CRC)||哥斯达黎加||Gēsīdá Líjiā|
|157||Trinidad and Tobago (TRI)||特立尼达和多巴哥||Tèlìnídá hé Duōbāgē|
|162||Czech Republic (CZE)||捷克||Jiékè|
|165||El Salvador (ESA)||萨尔瓦多||Sàěrwǎduō|
|171||Sri Lanka (SRI)||斯里兰卡||Sīlǐ Lánkǎ|
|176||South Korea (KOR)||韩国||Hánguó|
|180||North Korea (PRK)||朝鲜民主主义人民共和国||Cháoxiǎn Mínzhŭ Zhŭyì Rénmín Gònghéguó|
|189||New Zealand (NZL)||新西兰||Xīn Xīlán|
|194||Sierra Leone (SLE)||塞拉利昂||Sàilā Lìáng|