Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Beijing 2008: Bring on the scandal

For an Olympic junkie, Beijing is a nightmare. All you want to do is focus on sports—continue your research into the favourites for women’s doubles badminton gold (that would be China’s Yang Wei and Zhang Jiewen). But instead you are constantly distracted by the latest scandal emanating from the Nation That Wants To Control Everything And Thinks It’s Still 1987.

Like whether Yang Wei and Zhang Jiewen are really human. Would you put it past the Chinese to make robots that play badminton?

Ok, so that one might be a stretch, but it’s clear that China will do anything to prove to the world that it’s a swell kinda place that happens to be vastly superior to us lazy westerners. If that means fudging pre-pubescent gymnasts’ passports so be it. Shame, evidently, is in short supply in the lead up to these games.

However, if the goal was to paint a pretty picture for the rest of the world about the openness and reasonableness of new China then this whole Olympic experiment is failing badly. China is learning that they can’t control the western press (and good on the western press for figuratively telling them to shove it). Every day another story appears about something that is horribly wrong about China. Algae, locus, pollution, corruption, the list goes on and on.

As an Olympic junkie you want to push it aside. As a human being you know that would be irresponsible. When the history books are written one suspects that sports historians aren’t going to look kindly on these Games. Bad air and a corrupt host will often make the results questionable. But, the rest of the historians may look at the Games differently. With the world’s attention firmly focused on China it’s possible that some truly nasty things could be reported. That, in turn, could be the impetus to change.

Even on the sporting front, if China continues to get caught with its pants down then maybe, just maybe, other countries/athletes might start to realize that it’s really bad karma to cheat in a hop, skip and jump competition. It’s kind of pathetic, actually.

1 comment:

Dennis Prouse said...

The Chinese Communist government wanted the Olympics as a propaganda tool. What they are going to end up having is an uncomfortably close examination of the poor living conditions and lack of basic human rights afforded to its citizens. Try as they may, they simply won't be able to effectively control that many foreign journalists all at one time. To add insult to injury, you can guarantee that at least one medal-winning athlete will take the opportunity to make a comment on Tibet.

Our mothers always told us, "Be careful what you wish for." By the time the Olympics draw to a close, the Chinese Communists will be thinking precisely that.