The Olympic Games

Every summer I used to watch the Olympics while I was on holidays. August is the preferred holiday month in Spain and I would invariably be spending it in our apartment by the beach in the south west coast of Spain. After lunch, during nap time, I would watch gymnastics, synchronised swimming, diving or any other sport that only appears on tv once every four years —in Spain, the only sports you can regularly watch on normal tv are football, basketball and tennis when there is some big tournament.

But this year… I haven’t watched anything yet! I don’t even know if I have the channel that broadcasts the Olympics, or what time each competition starts, or anything. What is the time difference with Brazil? Something like 12 hours, I guess. So probably not a chance of seeing anything live…

In China the biggest news related to the Olympics have been the quarrel between certain Australian swimmer and certain Chinese swimmer, which became almost a diplomatic incident, and the ridiculously cute reaction of another swimmer when she heard about her mark (you can see the gifs and watch the video here).

But today I wanted to talk about the only time that I have been to the Olympics. It was in… you guessed right! Beijing 2008. It wasn’t the August Olympics though, but the Paralympics. For us students who only got a visa covering the duration of our two academic semesters it was practically impossible to obtain another visa to stay the summer. The government just didn’t want us there during the Games so we had to leave and, the ones that were going to continue studying, go back in September. That was when I found out the tickets for the Paralympics were very cheap: only 50 RMB! (Back then that was only 5 Euro). I wanted to go to the National Stadium (known as the Bird’s Nest) and the National Aquatics Center (a.k.a. Water Cube) but there were no tickets left for the Water Cube. So the Bird’s Nest it was!

On the way to the stadium!

On the way to the stadium!

The Bird's Nest.

The Bird’s Nest.

 

I love the Bird’s Nest, it looks amazing! We saw several races (running on two legs and also on wheelchairs) and I think also javelin, but I can’t really remember. What I do remember is that everything was very exciting! At the end of each competition there was the medals ceremony, with the national anthem of the winner and everybody standing as a sign of respect. Every time a Chinese won a gold medal, all the spectators (the stadium has a capacity of 90,000 seats) would sing the Chinese national anthem. It was very impressive!

The Bird's Nest on the inside. I am afraid that after the Beijing Olympics it hasn't been used much.

The Bird’s Nest from the inside. I am afraid that after the Beijing Olympics it hasn’t been used much.

It was a bit hot inside the stadium, the air didn't move at all. Faulty design?

It was a bit hot inside the stadium, the air didn’t move at all. Faulty design?

The racing wheelchairs look more like a tricycle that you work with your hands.

The racing wheelchairs look more like a tricycle that you work with your hands.

The Beijing Paralympics mascot was a colourful cow.

The Beijing Paralympics mascot was a colourful cow.

The Bird's Nest at night!

The Bird’s Nest at night!

 

Are you following the Rio Olympics? Have you ever been to the Olympic or Paralympic Games?

 

Advertisements