the smell of gold

It’s been a very long week for me, or at least it seemed that way. I have been working every day for the last 10 days and believe me, I can not feel more burned out. Honestly, the only thing that kept me going was the Olympics. It felt nice waking up each morning to an increase in China’s medal count. It was pretty much my breakfast every morning haha So here’s my re-cap:

I stayed up just to watch the Men’s Individual All-Around. As I predicted, Yang Wei won the gold. I was so happy for him! After failing to win at the last Olympics (when he felt he was at his best), he was so depressed and wanted to quit. It’s a good thing he didn’t. I’d have to say that his worse performance was on the horizontal bar, but even with a low score for it he was already well in the lead.

Yang Wei seems to always have a stern face, especially when he’s competing. But judging from some of his interviews and other videos, you can see that he is actually quite fun. As he was waiting for his last mark, it was funny to see him flexing his muscles to the camera and blowing kisses to the crowd. I thought it was really sweet when he looked in the camera and mouthed “I love you” to his girlfriend. Awwww! :)

It was a fight for the gold for Women’s Individual All-Around. I would’ve wanted to see Shawn Johnson win, but I have to admit that Nastia put on quite a performance.

Sunday was the first of my three early mornings. I got up at 6am to catch the finals for Men’s Floor and Men’s Pommel Horse.

Floor was one event I DID NOT expect China to win gold in; it was a shocker. Zou Kai did a very difficult routine and stuck all his landings. I was impressed by the boy! I guess that win was in part due to both Brazil and Romania falling during their routines. I deeply felt for Diego Hypolito (Brazil). He was practically in tears after falling on his final pass. If it wasn’t for the fall, he probably would’ve walked away with the gold.

Again as I predicted, Xiao Qin won Men’s Pommel Horse. It wasn’t quite his best performance, but it sure was enough for him to go home with the gold.

Waking up at 6am again on Monday morning was not a problem because I was so excited about seeing the Men’s Rings Final. I can’t remember if Yang Wei was the second or third to do his routine, but he got it over with early and set the bar fairly high at 16.425. With that kind of score, it was comforting to know that China had pretty much secured it’s spot on the podium. Then came the “Lord of the Rings”…Chen Yibing. Being a world champ in this event, I was expecting nothing less of a near perfect performance from him. And I got exactly that.

I was practically jumping in my chair when Chen Yibing’s marks came up as the highest (at 16.600) with Yang Wei ranked 2nd after him. Seeing the two on the podium made my day :D

That same morning, I also watched the finals for Women’s Uneven Bars and Women’s Trampoline before heading off to work. He Kexin got the exact same score as Nastia but He Kexin got the gold. This has been the center of much controversy, along with the underage allegations.

Personally, I think people need to stop whining. Consider the fact that there is an actual scoring system in place and in such a case where there is a tie between scores, they break down the individual deductions from each judge (instead of just averaging the marks) to see who comes out on top. Every gymnast is judged under this same system despite it being 100% fair or not, so respect it. The guys who are calling this kind of judging “all wrong” should go ahead and prove themselves right. Until then, this “all talk, no action” attitude is not appreciated.

You can bet I’ll have another post entirely devoted to discussing the controversies (or more accurately the comments made in response to the controversies) that have surrounded these Olympics.

Tomorrow, I’ll conclude my Olympics with a re-cap of Li Xiao Peng’s win on parallel bars and the closing ceremony. Stay tuned!

Congratulations, Team China!

I’m not usually a sports fanatic, but during the Olympics I tend to enjoy watching gymnastics and diving. It just so happens that these are the sports that the Chinese excel in.

I stayed up Monday night to catch the Team Finals for Men’s Gymnastics. It was a sweet victory for the Chinese team. They were near perfect in every one of their routines. As I watched the guys huddle together with tears in their eyes after their final event, I practically wanted to cry with them. What I liked most about the Chinese men’s team was the humble attitude that they portrayed. Unlike the American team that appeared to come out to make a statement or the Japanese team that had aggression written all over their faces, the Chinese just kinda came out to do their stuff. It didn’t seem like they were interested in how well their competitors were doing as long as they did their best. They were confident and it was evident, yet they didn’t flaunt it. I liked that.

Chen YiBing is one of my favourite gymnasts. He has a really cute smile; if I was into muscular guys, I’d probably consider him hot haha. He is just absolutely amazing on rings. The kind of control he has on the rings is far more superior than any other gymnast currently competing. If all goes well, he’s likely to take the gold home for Men’s Rings.

Li XiaoPeng is another cutie. He’s best on the pbars and I’m putting my wager on him for the gold in Men’s Parallel Bars. Xiao Qin is my favourite on the pommel horse, while I have high hopes for Yang Wei to get the gold in Men’s Individual All-Around. I think Fabian Hambuchen is more than likely going to win gold for the Horizontal Bar.

Following the win of China’s Men’s Gymnastics, I stayed up to watch China plunge at another gold. This time it was in Women’s Synchronized 10m Platform Diving. It was no doubt that the duo would win the gold since they were in the lead pretty much from the first round.

Tuesday night was Team Finals for Women’s Gymnastics. Although it was another win for the Chinese team, I’d have to say I wasn’t quite as impressed as I was with the men’s team. I had high hopes for the U.S. because they have such a strong team. But both the U.S. and China teams had their falls, with the Americans performing well under what they were capable of. The Chinese finished the night with great performances on floor and came out on top.

I was watching on NBC and was furious when Bela Karolyi commented on China’s win. He literally said “It’s too bad those girls are underage” as if he knew that for a fact. What an @ss. That statement was an insult to the ones who qualified these girls to compete. China didn’t win because they were underage; they won because the Americans didn’t perform as well as they could’ve. The girls of the U.S. team were very accepting of the results, which I respect. Bela Karolyi and his wife, Martha who is coach of the U.S. women’s team, on the other hand just can’t stop b!tching. Grrrrrr to them!!

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So tonight is finals for Men’s Individual All-Around, Women’s Individual All-Around tomorrow night (I’m putting my bet on Shawn Johnson), Men’s Pommel Horse on Sunday, Men’s Rings on Monday (GO CHEN YIBING!!!), and Men’s Parallel Bar on Tuesday. I’ll definitely be catching these ones in the next few days.

Olympics Opening Ceremony

Almost everyone who watched the Opening Ceremony of the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing would agree that it was one amazing show. Personally, I think it was one of the best opening ceremonies ever, not just because China is hosting the Games but because of all the creative elements that were used. I was lucky to have the day off and ended up waking up at 6:30am just to catch it. I recall this tingling feeling that ran through my body during the countdown and it was just such a great feeling to finally be able to see what I’ve been longing for.

The beginning was a little slow for me, but it was interesting to watch the synchronized drummers do their stuff. I loved the idea of dancers painting on the huge scroll. I also thought it was smart to use the concept of China’s four great inventions as the theme. It’s like a reminder to everyone that China has contributed to the development of our modern world. Technology can advance and future hosting countries can use technology to create eye-popping ceremonies too, but they will never have Chinese’s rich history to feed on.

I was actually quite surprised at the lack of cultural dancing. I expected to see a display of dance by the 56 minorities, but I guess it makes sense to reserve that in order to showcase other elements of Chinese history which effects everyone in the world. The movable-type printing performance was brilliant, although I found the chanting of Confucius’s 3,000 disciples to be quite eerie. As with all the segments that required thousands of performers, it really showed how China is different. China’s biggest asset is it’s people, and when you combine that with their creative use of technology it really makes a big impact.

I also really liked the Starlight sequence where the performers wore lighted suits and moved around on stage to form the Dove of Peace and the “Bird’s Nest” stadium. Following that was the Tai Chi segment which was a nice transition into the nature theme.

The Dream sequence was also one of my favourites. I thought it was pretty impressive for the performers on the lower half of the globe to be running around it upside-down (head rush!!). It was also touching when parasols were opened around the globe to reveal the smiling faces of children.

I absolutely loved the concept for the lighting of the cauldron. I mean, how do you beat having a person fly up and around the stadium to light it? Just brilliant! The swirl of fire into the cauldron was nice. From beginning to end, the show allowed the world to see the power of the human kind. And then there was the fireworks display at the end that left me mesmerized.

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A lot of controversies have been swirling, with the lip-syncing and “fake” fireworks as the newest addition. Really, it’s nothing more than people picking on China, but I am so sick of hearing it. I’ll reserve my opinion ’til a little later. Until then, people need to get a life.

Tomorrow, I’ll be re-capping my two favourite sports, gymnastics and diving. Congrats to the Chinese teams on both! :)

the wait is almost over

I have waited 7 years to witness this. Yes, the 2008 Summer Olympics.

Born and raised in Toronto, you would naturally think that I was in full support of Toronto hosting the Games when we were bidding for it. But to be completely honest, I was rooting for Beijing. I have always been very confident that China would host one of the best Games in history, and the opening ceremony is something I eagerly look forward to seeing.

Regarding the video that leaked of the rehearsal, I almost think it was intentional, kind of like a teaser to get everyone hyped up and curious. Considering the tight relationship that China has with South Korea, I wouldn’t be surprised at all if it was all planned to roll out that way. You don’t see the U.S. with a video clip of the rehearsal :P That’s the way of the Chinese: if they want you to know something, they will find a way to let you know. If they don’t want you to know something, there’s no way you can find out.

I have read many articles on websites and comments on different forums. Whenever the issues of human rights, boycotting and Tibet comes up, all I do is laugh. Just wait and see, I would think. Just wait and see. A lot of people don’t really understand the situation in China and are simply brainwashed by the western media. To really understand the crux of the issues, you must have some understanding of China’s history. I, by all means, am no historian or politician. I was just brought up with knowledge of the motherland. There is a lot more than what is portrayed. Maybe I’ll express my opinions in the next post.

Controversies aside, I think the opening ceremony will be spectacular. I’m excited to see all the dancing, singing, fireworks, everything! You can be sure that on Friday morning, I’ll be home and in front of my tv to watch this historical event.