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(Image Source – Times of India – Click to Enlarge)
The 2008 Beijing Olympics are over. The winner is China and mass consumption and among the losers are the actual rural and migrant workers of China, the ones doing the clean-up and well, us for watching the capitalist and nationalist spectacle.
I covered the high point of the event for me (here and here), some of the things I could not tolerate and some that left me with ambigious feelings. And shockingly, none of it involves women’s beach volleyball!
Times of India printed a TOP 10 Moments of the Olympics and Olympic Factfile that can be accessed in actual newsprint format here — Obviously I use Times of India as an unbiased source given how many in American media and blogosphere were whining about scores and medals. But feel free to give your own views.
USAIN BOLT breaks the 100 metres world record. Bolt already owned the record and in front of a packed Bird’s Nest stadium he ran 9.69 seconds. He thumped his chest in triumph over the last few
metres before his ‘marksman’ celebration which became one of the lasting images of the Games.
MICHAEL PHELPS roars in triumph and relief after American teammate
Jason Lezak overtook France’s Alain Bernard on the final leg of the 4×100 freestyle relay to keep alive Phelps’s dream of beating Mark Spitz’s record from 1972 of seven golds in a Games — a dream he was to realize.
LIU XIANG dejectedly walks away from the track as he realizes he has
to withdraw from the defence of his 110 metres hurdles title because of a leg injury. Liu was the most popular sportsman in China and his grimacing departure clouded the Games for millions of home fans.
Russia’s YELENA ISINBAYEVA turns the Bird’s Nest into her private
theatre with a gold medal and world record-breaking pole vault performance that captivated the 91,000 crowd. After she spent most of the competition lying under a towel, she broke her own world mark with a leap of 5.05 metres.
The OPENING CEREMONY. It emerged that some of the performance seen on television had been enhanced by computers, a child singer was replaced by a supposedly prettier face to mime to her voice and representatives of China’s ethnic minorities were no such thing. But it was a jaw-dropping beginning to the Games, culminating in former gymnast Li Ning being swung up the roof of the stadium and ‘running’ around the top level before lighting the cauldron.
American MATT EMMONS blows a 3.3-point lead on the very last shot of a 120-shot competition to throw away the gold medal in the “marathon” event of shooting. Four years ago in Athens he had fired at the wrong target and squandered a 3-point lead.
kisses a picture of his late wife Susann on the gold medal podium, holding back tears over the promise he made to her that he would keep their Olympic dream. The super-heavyweight made the pledge to Susann at her bedside in the hospital as she lay dying after a car crash in 2007.
USAIN BOLT breaks Michael Johnson’s 200 metres record.
Charging towards the finish line, Bolt has his eye on the clock all the way and once again celebrates his triumph in style — this time, after he completed his run.
Rohullah Nikpai wins Afghanistan’s first Olympic medal with a bronze in the men’s 58-kg taekwondo. Proof that no matter how tough the conditions you have to train in, Olympic success is achievable if you have the talent.
Estonian GERD KANTER celebrates his discus gold
medal by sprinting down the 100 metre track at the Bird’s Nest and mimicking Bolt’s marksman routine.
I think the Top 10 or close finishers in these Olympics for me includes (in no particular order):
1. Henry Cejudo –son of undocumented immigrants in the USA– winning the Gold medal in freestyle wrestling. Take that ICE!
2. How a Beijing artist paid for front-row seats for some migrant workers to return to the venues that they built–a dream come true (Read here)
3. Abhinav Bindra winning India’s first individual gold medal ever and Tuvshinbayar Naidan also winning the first gold medal ever for Mongolia.