A guest post by Shannon Young
The Olympic Games are about so much more than sports. In ancient times, the Olympics were a chance for the Greek city-states to work out their aggressions and politics in a relatively friendly environment. The athletes, spectators, and VIPs would descend on Olympia for merry-making and diplomacy, even in the midst of war.
These days, the Olympic cities get just as much attention as the sports. Beijing 2008 was all about making an impression. China, the closed, mysterious country that had been experiencing rapid economic growth, was finally ready to welcome the world.
The coordination in Beijing was impeccable. From the performances to the infrastructure to the facilities, every aspect of the spectacle demonstrated a total commitment to making this the most impressive Olympics in history. But I went to China expecting to be impressed by the organization.
The thing I didn’t expect was the people.
The Chinese people we met were almost frenzied in their enthusiasm for the Games. Everyone oozed pride at the chance to show off their country. From an average spectator’s perspective, the crowds were the real heroes of the Games. We watched their exuberant support spur their athletes to win dozens of gold medals. We encountered vigorous greetings from the volunteers, salespeople, and ordinary folks on the streets and in the stands.
TV coverage of the sports and the drama couldn’t possible convey the energy that we felt every day from the people around us. That’s why I wanted to tell this story.
The story of the Beijing Olympics is about so much more than politics and medals. It’s about passion and discovery and chasing dreams. It’s about the optimistic attitude of one nation that, no matter what has happened in the past, the future is full of potential.
Shannon Young is an American writer currently living in Hong Kong. She is the author of The Olympics Beat: A Spectator’s Memoir of Beijing. She writes a blog called A Kindle in Hong Kong and tweets @ShannonYoungHK.
The Olympics Beat: A Spectator’s Memoir of Beijing, eBook
File Size: 158 KB
Print Length: 56 pages
Sold by: Amazon Digital Services
The drama, the variety, the spectacle - Shannon can't get enough of it. She is an American student who has always been fascinated by the Olympic Games; her father has a lifelong love affair with China. They team up for the Beijing games and the adventure of a lifetime. Without the filter of a small screen, Shannon and her dad are hypnotized by the passion of a great nation unveiling itself to the world. This mini travel memoir is a picture of a new China and the experiences that would change one American girl's life forever.
You can visit Shannon’s website for original photos from Beijing illustrating each chapter of this story.