China Opens its Heart and Gates with the Olympics 2008

Chinese exports have now become the permanent fixtures on our shelves in supermarkets. These reasonably priced goods have etched the reputation of China as a mass producer of cheap consumer goods and to further compound to the problems, China had displayed a marked skepticism towards the rest of the word- the lack of freedom given to media, the iron clad Mao regime, and its image as the last citadel of communism. All these factors have added up and had painted a bleak picture of China as a nation. But tables turned, and its negative image had the chance to redeem itself, when the Beijing won the bid to host the 2008 Olympic bid. The Olympic Games was considered a Godsend opportunity by many, who viewed it as a symbol of China’s social stability and economic progress.


The Chinese government did not eschew this opportunity to revamp its already battered image. They pulled out all the stops to ensure that the event was a runaway success and that it raises the bar for the rest of the future Olympic Games. The games presented a chance to package the rich culture of China in a palatable manner, for the rest of the world. The visitors got the taste of ancient China alongside the modern marvels, which were constructed only for the purpose of the games.


The display of culture was visible from the emblem, ‘Dancing Beijing”, a Chinese seal to the medals inscribed with the dragon patterns. It was also manifested in the Olympic mascots, which were 5 Fuwa and were caricatures of popular Chinese animals like fish, panda, Tibetan antelope and a swallow. The Olympic torch which is carried across several countries before it touches down the host country is the most appropriate medium to promote the culture and by extension the image of the country. The Olympics 2008 torch was a fine piece of craftsmanship which married the culture of China along with the essence of the games.


The intensity of the efforts to give a new face to China was rivaled only by the steps taken to step up the infrastructure for the games The games saw the confluence of 10,000 athletes from 204 countries, participating in 302 events in 28 sports. Orchestrating the event of such a colossal scale without any disruptions is a no mean feat.


As soon as the games were announced, the massive preparations for the games took off the ground. A total of $ 42 Billion was spent in games. A total of 31 new stadiums were constructed for this purpose in Beijing, and constructions of six venues were built outside the city. The prominent among the architectural marvels that spring up was the Beijing National Stadium also nicknamed as The Bird Nest, because of its resemblance with the nest of a bird. The stadium featured lattice like outer steel ladder around the concrete bowl. It was the ground for opening and closing ceremonies apart from being the host of many finals of multitude of key games.


All these efforts reaped huge dividends. The games were declared a success by the national and international media. The appreciation also came from the Internation Olympic Committee, who praised the games in highest terms and felt that the games had raised the bar high for the next games.


This juxtaposition of modern and ancient, and the concomitant elements of lavish spending and above all generosity of the Chinese people who laid out the red carpet for the visitors, were the key condiments in the success of the Olympic Games or the Games of the XXIX Olympiad.


Geetu Batra



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