Sunday, August 24, 2008

Beijing Olympics Closes With Style: Next Stop, London

The 2008 Olympics in Beijing is over. The closing ceremony was spectacular, with fireworks, drums, and Jackie Chan.

There was even a red double-decker London bus, part of the short 'meet us in London' show put on to whet people's appetites for the 2012 London Olympics.

Quite a bit of what happened in Beijing was good news. Liu Xiang almost made it to the first hurdle in the 110-meter men's hurdles: which, considering the condition he was in, was doing very well indeed.

Google Made a great many logos for themselves, with Olympics themes (Thirteen in all, now displayed at "2008 Summer Games Doodle.")

Abhinav Bindra won India's first individual gold medal.

Chinese athletes won 100 medals, 51 of them gold.

American athletes didn't do too badly, with 110 medals. 36 of those were gold.

There's a pretty good chart of which countries won how many of what sort of medal at the official Olympics website's "Overall Medal Standings" page.

Not everybody's happy, of course. Human rights groups were disappointed that world leaders didn't bawl out China for human rights abuses. Reporters were annoyed because China blocked websites with improper content: like criticism of China's policies. And protesters didn't like China's restrictions on demonstratons. The last I heard, eight American protesters are still being held. I'm not so worried about them, as I am about Ji Sizun, a Chinese protester who disappeared when the Olympics began. I haven't been able to find news about him, apart from his disappearance.

But aside from that, the 2008 Olympics went very well.

More, in the news:


Anonymous said...

Why was there such a Chinese Military presence in the games? This bothered me tremendously, since the games should stay neutral. I don't remember ever seeing a Military presence at any previous games.

Brigid said...

There was? I didn't see any and I watched a lot of the games. Where'd you hear that?

Brian H. Gill said...


I'm with Brigid on this. I didn't notice all that much of a "Chinese Military presence in the games" - but I did a little checking.

"Beneath the Olympic glitter, massive police presence highlights China’s social tensions" (World Socialist Web Site) discusses the Chinese approach to maintaining order during the games. The phrase "police-state methods" sums up that group's perception of China's procedures, I think.

The San Diego Tribune cited "NBC sending small army to cover Beijing Olympics" - but I don't think this is quite the "military presence" meant.

A discussion thread on does reveal a heavy Thailand military presence at the 2008 Olympics: as medal winners.

Seriously, Anonymous: Every Olympics since I've been noticing things has had some pretty heavy-duty security at work. The 1972 Summer Olympics in Munich highlighted why this is a good idea.

If you regard police and related government agents as "military," then yes: there was a heavy Chinese military presence at the Beijing games.

Just like every other Olympics.

I'll admit that you've piqued my curiosity. This family has been watching the games quite a bit, and apart from the occasional athlete who was also a member of some country's military, we'd missed the "Chinese Military presence" you mention.

Anonymous said...

The Olympic flame may have been extinguished and the athletes have gone home, but in roughly a week’s time, another world-class competition will come alive in the same venues. Another group of world-class athletes are waiting in the wings, eagerly anticipating for their turn at the world stage of Beijing for the Beijing 2008 Paralympic Games.

2008 Beijing Summer Paralympic schedule

Brian H. Gill said...


Quite right! Here's a post on the Paralympics: But Wait, There's More! The Paralympics Starts in Beijing" (September 6, 2008).

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