Tuesday, August 12, 2008


The Olympics have been a fun to watch the past few days. Where else can you watch sports like swimming, women's field hockey, and badminton in one sitting other than the Games every four years? The records that these swimmers are breaking are unbelievable. Really fun stuff to watch.

The Olympics are a huge deal for China too. The media has focused on this being China's moment as an emerging superpower to highlight the country's progress. I work with a team of people in Beijing, and they are extremely proud of the fact that their country is playing host on such a grand stage. They are excited to show the rest of the world how much they are growing.

China obviously has a ways to go -- you can't see more than 3 blocks in Beijing the air pollution is so bad and reporters there can only access government-approved internet sites. Now stories are starting to emerge showing the lengths that China went to make the Olympics successful.

"Young Olympics singing star didn't really sing"
A 7-year-old Chinese girl was not good-looking enough for the Olympics opening ceremony, so another little girl with a pixie smile lip-synched "Ode to the Motherland," an official said.

In the latest example of the lengths Beijing took for a perfect start to the Summer Games, a member of China's Politburo asked for the last-minute change to match one girl's face with another's voice, the ceremony's chief music director said in an interview with Beijing Radio.

"The audience will understand that it's in the national interest,"

"Well-Trained Fans Are at the Ready, if Seats Need to Be Filled"

Part of the organizing committee’s plan all along was to distribute tickets at little or no expense to thousands of Chinese, from school children to government workers, mostly for lower-profile events. And as part of a grand pre-Olympic effort to build enthusiasm and teach proper fan etiquette, they were instructed how to cheer.

In the first few days of the Olympics, clusters of Chinese fans with matching shirts and perfectly timed cheer sticks have become regular sights at many of the lower-profile venues, particularly prominent at events without Chinese competitors. They provide quick bursts of noise and an air of neutrality, showing little allegiance beyond the person leading their cheers. They are noticeable mostly for packing tightly into various sections of venues otherwise dotted with mismatched fans and empty seats.

“Not many people know handball,” said a woman who identified herself as Ms. Zheng. “That is why we come here — to cheer both sides. We are friendly Chinese.”

Maybe we should give China a break. So they took queues from Duke basketball fans and packed the stands with phonies with rehearsed cheers. And so they didn't learn the lesson from Milli Vanilli and lip-synched the national anthem with a cuter kid. China's heart is in the right place, right? ;-)

Enjoy the Games. Cheers!

No comments: