With an unprecidented, magnificent opening ceremonies, China has officially opened its doors and let the world enter into Beijing for the Summer Olympics. The show that the China put on will forever live as the greatest opening ceremonies in the history of the Olympics. I just don’t see how any city, any country, anyone could possibly top last night’s performance. It was truly magical. And I would expect nothing less from the Chinese, who are determined to prove that they are not a corrupted, evil empire, but a just, skillful country. Though everyone who saw the lighting of the Olympic Torch was no doubt left in awe, it won’t be as easy to convince the world that China is just. My question is: Are the Olympics the place to share political opinions and uproot years of planning with protesting?
The Olympics are designed to bring the world together for two-plus weeks of incredible events to showcase the greatest athletes in the world and the incredible sportsmanship and respect that exists between those athletes. It is for the four athletes from Malawi to show that their country has pride and passion. It is for Michael Phelps to win nine gold medals and the United States Basketball team to reclaim gold. But most of all, it is for the Chinese to take the world by storm. China has spent four years and millions of dollars developing a strategy and training athletes so that when all is said and done at this year’s Summer Olympics, they will be left holding the most medals.
Unfortunately, China won’t just be fighting over teams and players. There will be a steady stream of protests throughout the entire game. The pollution and concern about smog will certainly gain headlines during the entire event. And unfortunately, the horrible news of the murder of the United States’ indoor volley ball coach’s father-in-law will not reflect well on China. Even so, I cannot see how China does not gain respect and admiration from the rest of the world. Politics may hamper and restrict the rest of the world’s opinion, but the Games are not about politics. That will not stop protesters from sharing their views and maybe the Chinese will change their ways and these protests will be productive. I personally agree with the protesters on Tibet and other political controversies, but I don’t think the Olympics are the time to voice an opinion. As I said above, it is China’s time to shine and any protests against Chinese policy will hurt the final opinion on China’s Olympics. I understand the deep opinions that these protesters have and how much these issues do need to be dealt with, but not here, not now. Let China have its moment and the Chinese people bask in the glory of a phenomenal Olympics.
Now on to the actual events. Michael Phelps will be swimming for his first gold medal some time later tonight in what Phelps hopes will be a record Olympics. His goal of nine gold medals is lofty, but Phelps has proven before that he is capable of such a feat. In other news, Badminton really is an unbelievable sport. If you haven’t watched any of it yet, do yourself the favor and just watch one point. I guarantee you will continue watching after that. Another sport that I have found particularly thrilling during these Olympics is Handball. It seems so simple: throw a ball into a large net. Now I have never played before so I cannot comment on the difficulty of the sport, but I can’t understand why teams don’t just fire the ball into the corner of the net. Instead they set up plays, fight through defenders, and do a lot of unnecessary work. I’m sure it is much harder than I imagine, and either way, it is entertaining. Volleyball is fun to watch as always. Basketball and soccer are sports I am much more familiar with and cheering on the US is always. Then there are all the sports that I wouldn’t schedule my day around, but I’ll watch if I see them on: swimming, track, and gymnastics. After day one, the US lead the world in medals with three, one gold, one silver, and one bronze, but more remarkably, they were all in women’s sabre. The US women swept the medals there. Behind the US is China and South Korea, with two medals apiece. The 2008 Summer Olympics are underway and though a huge tragedy has struck the US volleyball team, China has still put on quite a show.