We have just witnessed the end of one of the most glamorous event of all times, the Olympics. All are in agreement that the event has surpassed all our wildest imaginations in terms of event organizations and the hospitality of the local people. It is my greatest pleasure today to take you through the greatest moments that have been happening in the past three weeks of Olympics, we will also look at the history of the Olympics and the upcoming 2012 events.
These were the 29th Olympic Games in the history of sports. The games were officially known as the ‘Games of the XXIX Olympiad’. The multi sport event started on August 6th to the 24th. The starting game was football. A total of 205 countries participated in this year’s games.
The games took place took place at the centre piece of the Beijing National Stadium or the ‘Birds Nest` as it was nicknamed due to its nest-like structure, whose construction began in 2003 on the 24th of December.
The cauldron or the torch was lit by a gymnast Li Ning, a 6 time medalist (3 gold, 2 were silver, 1 was bronze) at the 1984 Games in Los Angeles. The order of the teams was presented in order of the Chinese alphabet. Greece was the first one since that is where the Olympic Games were first held in Athens. The host country China was the last. The next games to bring the world together in sports will be the 30th and will be held in 2012 in London at the Olympic park. The design of the Olympic torch was actually based on traditional scrolls and uses a traditional Chinese design known as the “Propitious Clouds.” The torch was designed to remain lit in 65 Kilometers per Hour (40 miles per hour) winds, temperatures as low as -40°C and in rain of up to 50 mm (2 in) per hour. The relay, with the theme Journey of Harmony, lasted 130 days and carried the torch 137,000 km (85,000 mi)—the longest distance of any Olympic torch relay since the tradition began at the1936 Berlin Games.
The relay began March 24, 2008, in Olympia Greece from there, it traveled across Athens in Greece to Panathinaiko Stadium, and then to Beijing, arriving on March 31. From Beijing, the torch followed a route passing through every continent except Antarctica. The torch visited cities on the Silk Road, symbolizing ancient links between China and the rest of the world. A total of 21,880 torchbearers have been selected from around the world by various organizations and entities
The Olympics in China kicked off on a Friday and were officiated by Hu Jintao, the president of the Peoples’ Republic of China. Present were other great world leaders and perhaps a billion people watched the games live on Television. The ceremony was presided over by Zhang Yhimou whose spectacle intended to present Chinas’ new face to the World with stage crafts and pyrotechnics that Olympics organizers have no equal match in the history of the games. (David, 2008)
Summer Olympics are events surrounding sports such as swimming, track and field, weightlifting, and many others. The winter Olympics only have events that are ice and snow related like; skating, hockey, skiing and other things like snowboarding and such. The winter Olympics are held during the winter time, and the summer Olympics are held during the summer.
The first Summer Olympic Games were held in Athens Greece back in 1896 with a total of 311 athletes from 13 countries participating. These games saw the U.S emerging the top country after defeating Greece. The games (summer or Winter Olympics) are held after every four years, but after every two years between summer or winter games.
The term Olympics originated from the ancient Pan-Hellenic celebration of Olympia in honor of Zeus held after every four years since 776BC.
As the Beijing Olympics were getting near, air quality and environment protection became one of the most raised questions which caused some foreign athletes to withdraw from the games over fear of air pollution and that there was rumor that US delegation for the Olympics would wear masks. However, some termed this as politics since “the international Olympics Committee President, Mr. Jacques Rogge praised China for the ‘extraordinary’ job it had done to clean the air for the Beijing games” (Lei Lei, 2008).
The security at the games was tight with over 34,000 armed personnel being charged with the responsibility of overseeing security during the Olympics. According to Tian Yixiang the director for the military bureau of the Security command center for the games said “The military in China has Deployed 74 jets, 48 helicopters, and 33 vessels as well as radar systems, ground-to-air missiles, chemical and engineering units. (Hu Yinan 2008).
China came top over all in the medal standings at the 29th Olympics with a total of 100 medals followed by the USA with 110 medals then Russia with 72 medals. The first African country in the top twenty was Kenya followed by Ethiopia.
The 30th Summer Olympics will be held in 2012 in London. The handover ceremony which concluded the Beijing games was done on the last day of the games. The ceremony was on 24th September 2008.
The 2008 Summer Olympics Closing Ceremony concluded the Beijing Games on August 24, 2008. It began at 8:00pm, and took place at the Birds’ Nest. The Ceremony which cost England 2.5 pounds included the handover of the Games from Beijing to London. Guo Jinlong, the Beijing Mayor handed over the Olympic flag to the London Mayor Boris Johnson, followed by a performance organized by the London Organizing Committee for the Olympic Games (LOCOG) which saw Jimmy Page, David Beckam and Leona Lewis perform. All games ended before 5pm on that day instead of the usual 12am. The next Summer Olympics in London will be held on 29th August to 9th September of 2012 while the next Winter Olympics will be held in Vancouver, BC. Canada in 2010 then, in Sochi Russia in 2014.
The official mascots named ‘Fuwa’ in Chinese meaning good luck dolls. According to Geoffrey A. Flower; “Chinas’ 5 characters spur confusion ‘could have been much better said creator” (Wall Street Journal, 2008). The mascots were designed by Han Meillin a 72 year old artisan.
London will host the Olympics in 2012 for the third time since 1908 and 1948. In 1908 the countries that participated were 22 with 2008 athletes of 37 were women and 1971 were men the events were 110. In 1948 the countries the participated were 59 with 4,104 athletes where 390 were women and the men were 3,714 and the events were 300.
The Olympic village for the London Olympics will be held at the Olympic park in Stratford and, plans are underway to design and construct a park that will cater for the needs of people from all cultures, faiths and ages, and accessible to disabled people. The Olympic Delivery Authority (ODA) is consulting with diverse groups in the local community to and it has been influenced by experiences of the multi-faith groups, parents, disabled people and paralympians. We are all waiting with baited breath to see whether the London will be able to match the excellent hosting exhibited by China.
David Barbhoza: “Gritty Renegade Now Directs China’s Close-up; New York Times, August 7th 2008
Lei Lei. Air is fine; let the games begin; China Daily August 7th 2008.
Hu Yinan “PLA soldiers on guard ensure public safety” China Daily August 8th 2008.
Geoffrey A. Flower; “Chinas’ 5 characters spur confusion ‘could have been much better’ said creator” Wall Street Journal July 2008 page A1