After years of planning and preparation, the 2008 Olympic Games held in Beijing, closed on Sunday as China passed on the flame to London for the 2012 games. Were the Beijing games the most successful games ever?
“Faster, Higher, Stronger” goes the Olympic motto, and China seemed determined to host an Olympic Games with those goals in mind. The venues – especially the Bird’s Nest and Water Cube – seemed fabulous didn’t they?
There was indeed that horrible incident in which an apparent crazy killed an American tourist and severly injured his wife. Supposedly that was a random act of violence. But there were no large terrorist incidents - at least that we know of. We are talking about the Chi-Coms here!
And there was that little matter of
smog, “dust”… The level of pollution seemed nowhere near as bad as all the early reports feared. Whether by design or accident, regular thunderstorms seemed to have kept the skies for the main part clear so that the athletes could compete.
And don’t forget the protestors and the fact that freedom of speech is not free in China. It seems we still have 8 Americans being held for their protests.
But there were those amazing Olympic moments… the ones that make us all proud. Michael Phelps, Usain Bolt, Misty May Trainor & Kerry Walsh, US Men’s Basketball Team, Dara Torres. Of course I could go on and on. Lots of medals for lots of great athletes.
Carrying the US flag in the closing ceremonies was archer Khatuna Lorig, who is competing for her third nation during these Games.
Her story is compelling: born in Tbilisi, Georgia, Lorign won a bronze medal while representing the Unified Team of the former Soviet Union at the 1992 Olympics in Barcelona. She then competed for Georgia at the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta and the 2000 Summer Games in Sydney.
“Being named the U.S. flag bearer for the Closing Ceremony is almost like winning a gold medal, maybe even better,” Lorig, 34, said. “I thought I could win a gold medal in competition, but I never thought I’d have this opportunity. I am truly, truly so proud to be an American citizen and part of the U.S. Olympic Team.”
Lorig emigrated to the United States after the 2000 Games, but wasn’t eligible for the Athens Games four years ago because she hadn’t yet become a U.S. citizen. In the Beijing Olympic tournament, she upset the 10th seed, Ana Maria Rendon of Colombia, but lost in the quarterfinals to the eventual bronze medal winner and world-record holder Yun Ok-Hee of Korea.
Many memorable moments – the Olympics are good for that. Throughout these games, the organization seemed practically flawless. But were they the very best ever? The Chinese seem to think so.
“Beijing Olympics Closing Ceremony” Video