Thursday, August 21, 2008

Beijing Olympics - A Look Back

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India will remember the Beijing edition of Olympics for years to come. Firstly, she never had before so many individual medals in any single edition. Indian shooter Abhinav Bindra clinched a gold in rifle shooting, her wrestler Sushil Kumar bagged a bronze and now boxer Vijender Kumar has a chance to create history by winning in semifinals of 75 kg boxing. He has anyway secured a bronze in semis itself.

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We could never have believed such a run in Olympics before the event kicked off in Beijing. Generally the headlines in Indian newspapers are enough demoralizing, e.g. in an Indian daily a headline can easily read ‘Won Olympics Gold. Now What?’ – sounding ‘Won Olympics Gold. So what?’ or when 20-something Saina Nehwal loses out after showing a promising run in Badminton, newspapers here still say that she ‘disappointed’ Indians.

Beijing games will also mean a lot to the world. Firstly, it assured China a deserved entry on world stage as a serious superpower contender. World watched the opening event extravaganza with awe. Security concerns, doubts about China’s ability to host such an event all melted away when the game set rolling.

These were also the first games in era of Social Web. The reach of events was enormous with people having choice of platform to watch the event. Although nothing like an Internet Meltdown happened due to games.

Most important thing that happened at Beijing was about sports. Usain Bolt & Michael Phelps happened to Olympics at Beijing. Usain’s super-human runs in 100 m and 200 m sprints, his world records in both events indicate that here is a true Olympic ambassador – after Carl Lewis retired, there was nobody really speaking. Jamaican sprinters are a new superpower on bloc and Jamaica is already past this edition setting eyes on 2012 London Olympics! Read this news in Jamaica Observer.

Michael Phelps also rocked the world with his record equaling haul of 8 golds. He is a sports hero who will inspire many a generations. [Interesting link - read this article in WSJ which talks about an interesting aspect of swimming championship – Touching the Wall.]

It will be interesting now to see now whether USA takes over China in medal tally – this is still a possibility with so many gold medals to win in Athletics - a US stronghold.

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