Written on: July 16, 2012
Olympic years always bring back memories of games gone by. Our first involvement was in Atlanta in 1996; we worked for three years on the Sydney games; gave Athens a miss and spent an amazing two weeks at the Beijing games, my personal favourite.
The thing that sticks in my mind is the amazing light and music shows every night as we exited from the athletics. Wonderfully calming music, matched with a laser show that provided the backdrop to the swimming complex. And the magnificent lights of the birds nest, never to be forgotten.
It was such an enjoyable time and people from countries all around the world mingled as one for this phenomenal event.
During the day we enjoyed the hospitality of local restaurants where, only blocks away from the birds nest, the locals were continuing on as they always have, apart from being swamped by tourist at meal times. The tai chi continued in the parks, just as it had every day for decades. The children walked around in their safe environment, their smiling faces greeting the tourists with ‘ni hao’. For those two weeks in Beijing, the Games were showcased as never before.
And who remembers those chipper little mascots? Beibei (fish), Jingjing (panda), Huanhuan (Olympic flame), Yingying (Tibetan antelope) and Nini (swallow). In that beautiful Chinese way, when you put their names together – Bei Jing Huan Ying Ni – they say “Welcome to Beijing.” I don’t think there will be a friendlier, more welcoming games for many years to come.