Thursday, August 28, 2008
These games were quite an extraordinary event. I think I was just as interested by the behind the scene stories, interviews with the Chinese people and individual quests for personal performance bests; than by the competitions. Interviews and commentaries from correspondents suggested that the this Olympics allowed the Chinese people more opportunity to speak to outsiders than ever before.Through a magazine article I met Donnie Pei. Donnie Pei is a Beijing native who did a degree at UWO, through the International Centre for Olympic Studies. He indicated that prior to 2000 very few in China had any knowledge of the Olympics. It seems a universal flaw in the Olympic movement that governments tend to inject their own agenda into the event- this seems to be the case in Beijing. Many decisions on development and training had the gold medal as a measure of success and this may be more a reflection of how new the Olympic movement is to China. While gold medals were a fixation by Chinese sports officials, the very few bronze medals in China suggests a poor overall base of sport involvement. Canada's philosophy is more driven by a plan articulated in a Sport Canada document entitled Sport for Life. It makes infinite more sense to promote sport for the inherent values of fair play, focus, direction and ultimately good health. These are elements that can be promoted for a lifetime.
And the games are not finished we are now seeing some incredible athletes participating in the Paralympics.
Sunday, August 17, 2008
The falls on the north side of Cape Broyle were in full force today, not unexpected given the amount of rain we have had for the last week or two, but always worth checking out as close as you can manage.
Low tide and a close look along the shore revealed lots of sea urchins for the gulls.
Monday, August 11, 2008
The Beijing Olympics are well underway. The games are of course controversial - my view has been to support Tibet and to lodge protests four years ago. I am rather skeptical of the celebrity types who come out 1-2 months before and during the event.
I take my lead from the Dalai Lama.
After all if we really wanted to send a message to China - stop buying every product you pretty much own. Write Nike and tell them you are willing to pay another 50% for the product if they produced it north america.
I think a lot of diplomacy can happen in and around the sports field.
Athletes participating have spent four years or more preparing so my approach is to focus on some remarkable abilities and accomplishments and resume the politics after the games are over.
An interesting bit of sports/political trivia is that US/China relations took an upswing as a result of Chinese/US athletes friendship and ultimately led to a faster initiation of the famous Nixon trip. In many texts and papers that visit is credited with an increased awareness and an opening up of China and ultimately led to western interest and eventual acceptance of for example-acupuncture.
Saturday, August 9, 2008
Saturday, August 2, 2008
This photo was taken by P Hanrahan - it gives only a partial idea of the swell and the chaotic conditions that day. But it is a great shot of the Arch. None of us felt it was reasonable to get to close to this feature on the day we were out. You have to choose your day, but it is a reliable spot - it is going to be there for the next trip.