Saturday, August 9, 2008

I just don't know what to think...

I am a really big fan of the Olympic Games in general and a bigger fan of specific events. When I was growing up, I played three different individual sports that have events in the Olympics. To be fair, I am decidedly not an Olympian, but in these sports (gymnastics, diving and figure skating if you must know) it is impossible to train regularly without the idea of the Olympics coming up. Weekly. If you start one of these sports while you are a kid, you will be trained hard so that if you have the ability and the desire, you have the option of being put on the Olympic track. This is not normal for most kids. For a period of about ten years I (and many people around me) thought about the Olympics a lot. Every. Single. Day. People with that similar experience have an understanding about the Olympics and the reason for their existence. And that’s a good thing.

On top of all that, I grew up in a city that was given the gift of being a host to the Olympics. I got to see first hand a city preparing to have the Games and what that meant. We were not simply hosting the Games, we were hosts to the entire world. See, the Olympics are not about nationalism as much as they are about globalism. It is a festival of competition, yes, but more importantly it’s a celebratory way for so many different countries to come together. Yes, Atlanta grew up a lot in preparation for the games. New Stadiums, new parks, better light rail systems, and new architecture just like every other city that becomes a host. But the citizens themselves also had refurbishments. We were inviting the whole world to see our city! That kind of duty was an honor, and we took it seriously. But we could only change so much about the way our city looked, after that we had to learn to be proud of everything Atlanta had to offer, even if it was old. And that which was old was also part of our city’s history that we were proud to share. We had nothing to hide.

There is one thing that I truly question about Beijing hosting the games. Say what you will about China’s politics in general, and I’d probably agree. But my issues with those politics have nothing to do with the Games themselves, because if bad politics were a reason to not host the Games then there wouldn’t be any country that could host the games. What bothers me is this: The City of Beijing has chosen to build temporary walls to hide “unsightly” areas of town that they feel embarrassed by. These walls cover up businesses, and entire neighborhoods of people and their homes. Let me be clear: The City of Beijing is choosing to hide their own people. I cannot express how much that hurts my feelings. It is the exact opposite of what I love and respect most about the Olympic Games. Somehow, that seems to only be the tip of the iceberg…

And that complete lack of honor makes me feel sorry for them, because at the end of the day, they simply don’t get it.

© 2008 MD TOTAL all rights reserved.

1 comment:

NB said...

It's true - if the Olympics were about politics, the US could never host.

Beijing is hiding parts of the city and their residents, though? Damn.