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.