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The 2008 Beijing Olympics Logo

The 2008 Beijing Olympics Logo

The 2008 Summer Olympic games will take place in Beijing, China, making it a fitting time to write about the Olympics.

Beijing got the Summer Olympic games July 13, 2001, during the 112 International Olympic Committee (IOC) Session in Moscow beating Toronto, Paris, Istanbul and Osaka. It was a great victory for China, their vice premier of China, Li Lanqing, declared: “The winning of the 2008 Olympic bid is an example of the international recognition of China’s social stability, economic progress and the healthy life of the Chinese people.”

In preparation of the Olympic games, Beijing’s subway system had undergone a massive increase, more than doubling it’s previous size. Also, the Beijing Capital International Airport will get a new five-level emergency alert system for extreme weather and security threats. Whoa.

The slogan for the 2008 Olympics is “One World, One Dream”, which calls upon the whole world to join in the Olympic spirit and build a better future for humanity. It was selected from over 210,000 entries submitted from all over the world.

There has been some controversy over how China has been treating Tibet and this has spilled over into the Beijing Olympics. In fact, some supporters of Tibet have declared that they would boycott the 2008 Summer Olympics games in protest.

Nevertheless, the games will carry on. Here are the sports to be contested at the Beijing games, with the number of events to be contested in each sport is indicated in parentheses.

* Aquatics

* Diving (8 )

* Swimming (34)

* Synchronized swimming (2)

* Water polo (2)

* Archery (4)

* Athletics (47)

* Badminton (5)

* Baseball (1)

* Basketball (2)

* Boxing (11)

* Canoeing (16)

* Cycling (18 )

* Equestrian (6)

* Fencing (10)

* Field hockey (2)

* Football (2)

* Gymnastics (18 )

* Handball (2)

* Judo (14)

* Modern pentathlon (2)

* Rowing (14)

* Sailing (11)

* Shooting (15)

* Softball (1)

* Table tennis (4)

* Taekwondo (8 )

* Tennis (4)

* Triathlon (2)

* Volleyball (4)

* Weightlifting (15)

* Wrestling (18 )

The 411 on the Olympics

In anticipation of the upcoming Olympics, it is natural that some background on the games will be brought up and written about. So isn’t it only fitting that I write about it too?

The Olympics originated in ancient Greece. It was held every fourth year, like the modern Olympics. But with a few twists. Women were not allowed to compete if they were married nor could they compete personally, but were allowed to enter equestrian events as the owner of a chariot team or an individual horse, and win that way. Oh, and the other thing? All the participants were naked.

But fortunately (or unfortunately) the Olympics were abolished in the early Christian era, along with the naked-ness.

The Ancient Olympics - Not quite naked yet

The Ancient Olympics - Not quite naked yet

The Olympics were brought back in 1850, in the modest town of Much Wenlock, Shropshire by Doctor William Penny Brookes. He believed the men of the town spent far too much time in the pub and came up with the modern Olympics to occupy their time. Though the Olympics hasn’t helped the modern day men who still spend far too much time in the pub.

Doctor Brookes founded the National Olympics Foundation in 1865 and staged the first Olympics at London’s Crystal Palace. However, it was snubbed by the top sportsmen for lack of funding.

The modern Olympics was revived in Athens, Greece by a French man called Pierre de Coubertin.

Around that time, the world was starting to communicate and connect through telegraph and train. Also, the athletes from different countries were starting challenge each other. And so, de Coubertin thought it would be a good idea to get all the different countries to compete and that is why he revived the Olympics.

The Olympics Revived

The modern day Olympics were started again in 1896 in Athens, Greece, and they continued to be held every fourth year. However, they were not held during the World Wars 1 and 2.

The Olympic Games was not without its fair share of drama. In the 1972 Munich games, 11 members of the Israeli team were taken hostage by a terrorist group called Black September. Five German snipers were chosen to rescue them, but they failed. All 11 hostages died, along with 1 German police officer. The 1972 Munich games came to be known as the Munich Massacre.

There used to be two Olympics in the same year, the Summer Olympics and the Winter Olympics, both held separately. But in 1986, the IOC decided to reschedule the Summer and Winter Games by alternating between them every 2 years: each would still be held in four-year cycles, but two years apart from one another.

The Lillehammer Games in 1994 were the first Winter Olympics to be held without the Summer Games in the same year; in a non-leap, even year.

It has been decided that the 2010 Winter games will take place in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada; the 2012 Summer games in London, United Kingdom; and the 2014 Winter games in Sochi, Russia.

The opening ceremony of the Olympics in Beijing will be held in the Beijing National Stadium, and will begin at 8:00 pm CST (12:00 UTC) on 8 August 2008. It has been announced that Canada’s Celine Dion and Taiwan’s Jay Chou will both perform during the opening ceremony.

On July 21, NBC announced that the Opening Ceremony would include performances by a cast of 15,000 and declared that it would be the most spectacular Olympics Opening Ceremony ever produced.


When you hear China, you might think the Olympics; the Chinese food you had for dinner last night; your new pair of made-in-China flip-flops.

With the 2008 Olympics set to begin in Beijing on August 8, China is being somewhat reborn, as China is one of the most Ancient civilizations of the world as well as one of the largest. In fact, written Chinese history dates back to 3,000 B.C.

We know what went on in Ancient China because they had official historians who wrote down everything that happened. Being an official historian was dangerous, often they would get replaced frequently, but it was considered immoral to write down something other than the truth.

We also know that another important job at the court was the official “Reminder”, whose purpose was to remind rulers to live more simply like the ancient heroes of the past, not to shirk their responsibilities, or criticise the government officials. Today, our “Reminder” are blogs and the internet, in general.

The Chinese rulers, for the most part, managed their country gently and simply, allowing the lords of different states to rule as they liked. But then along came the ruler Ch’in Shi Huang, lord of one of the states.

The Rise of Ch’in Shi Huang.

Ch’in Shi Huang believed that good government was harsh government and that power was always right. In 221 B.C. he declared himself ruler of all China. Interestingly, Ch’in Shi Huang means “First Ch’in Sovereign Emperor” and that is how China got its name.

Another thing you might think of when you hear China is The Great Wall. The Great Wall was one of Ch’in Shi Huang’s many building projects, with all of them aimed at uniting China. He used his enemies and their families as slaves to build the Great Wall. The working conditions were cruel and many died.

Notice the watch towers? Those were there for Chinese soldiers to keep watch.

Notice the watch towers? Those were there for Chinese soldiers to keep watch.

History is mostly made up of power hungry people conquering other power hungry people and then figuring new ways to get their needs met. Which is why the Great Wall was built, its purpose was to protect and cocoon the empire from attacks from close warring tribes like the Huns and the Tartars.

The Great Wall is still there today, and stands 1500 miles long and 20 feet high.

Ch’in Shi Huang had a gigantic tomb built for him. Inside, it held an entire model army made out of terra cotta clay amounting to 7,500 soldiers. The rest of the army included clay chariots, horses and officers. Bows and arrows held by the terra cotta bowmen were actually set to shoot off should the tomb ever be robbed.

The tomb also held model palaces and canals with mercury running through them, run by wheels, like a great river. The tomb was only just discovered in 1974 and parts of it are still being unearthed.

After Ch’in Shi Huang died, the Ch’in Dynasty began a downward spiral, and the Han dynasty overthrew them.

China was ruled by dynasties for thousands of years. Like monarchy, there is a king and when the king dies his heir – usually the eldest son – takes over. Unlike monarchy, however, different dynasties were not related, a dynasty would end if the family died out, or if a competing family was able to overthrow it and take over.

That must be why they call it die-nasties (dynasties).

The Han Dynasty believed in good government and established an educational system for making sure the smartest boys in China were brought up to become government officials, no matter what their background.

The Battle of the Sexes. Or Something.

In Ancient China, and still some parts of the world today, females were treated as inferior to males. For example, a wife was never to address her husband by name and was to hand her husband things on a tray in order to avoid touching his hand. A wife’s duty was to serve her husband and parents-in-law and to take care of the children.

Typical Chinese clothing.

Typical Chinese clothing.

A girl whose fiancé has died was still expected to take care of his parents, which, in my opinion, is not fair at all.

Almost from birth, girls were taught to be subservient, and often baby girls slept on the floor to symbolize how inferior they were. Alright, we get it!

However, there is a story from the second century B.C. which goes: Emperor Liu Ch’e was so taken by the gentle manners and humility of a slave girl that he made her his empress. Eventually, her brother became a general, and her family became very powerful. The young girl’s humility dramatically changed the status of her family! But that still doesn’t make it right, I say.

Boys and girls played together until their teens. It was probably when those pesky hormones came up that they were separated. When a boy was twenty years old, his hair was ceremoniously pinned up under a cap.

But a girl was considered an adult at the age of fifteen, and that’s when there would also be a ceremony to pin up her hair.

Phew. If my family were living in Ancient China, I’m pretty sure it would be horrible for me, since I’m a girl and all. But I suppose in those days the girls were brought up as inferiors from the time they were born were probably used to it.

The world certainly has changed, what with more women’s rights now. Also not to mention that with the internet, everyone is equal and is heard.

Ancient China is very fascinating, but I think I much prefer my modern world.

May 2019
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