Friday, August 08, 2008

The Superficiality of the Olympics - 2008 Beijing Olympics Superficial Coverage

I can get all political about my ambivalence for watching the Beijing Olympics this year (it could/should have been in Toronto (which lost to Beijing after 3 rounds of votes), my parents escaped from China during the cultural revolution, our return has reminded us that the China now is not the great China they left behind, the human rights issues and the "progressiveness" they are headed towards is dubious, and the whole superficiality of China using the Olympics as a "showcase" as it sweeps all its problems away from the media, etc etc etc) but I just turned on the Opening Ceremonies (CBC here in Canada actually played it live) and I saw an interview with Adam van Koeverden (pronounced Vancouver-don but oddly from Oakville, Ontario just outside rival city Toronto!), the Canadian flag bearer and medal winner for Kayaking and my heart melted again...

oh heck... you KNOW I'm going to watch the Diving, Gymnastics, some Track, Swimming, Beach Volleyball and a few others. And Kayaking!

It helped that Adam is the LEAST jock like spokesperson for sports and seems like a super humble guy who claims he didn't play sports as a kid and wasn't very good at them. It also helps that he's hot. Damnit...

So who else am I looking for? Well our diving cutie Alexandre Despatie.

Oh and before I continue drooling on some of the athletes, I also must say I actually do love the Bird's Nest National Stadium by swiss architects Herzog & de Meuron and the glowy pool is pretty cool too (the Beijing National Aquatics Centre).

As for the opening ceremonies, well, it was it's usual mix of pomp and circumstance with huge influences from Cirque du Soleil and its surrealness, now with video floors!
And lots of camera shots from above to capture the patterns of thousands and thousands of people running in choreographed designs. And if there's one country that this is great for, it's China, with a Billion people to use to choreograph. (Yes, that was another subtle political dig!)

There was a celebration of the 4 great inventions that China made to the world: paper, printing, the compass and gun powder. Really? Should gun powder really be celebrated? I guess considering that's how the Beijing Olympics Logo was made, they would. You would have thought they would have picked spaghetti noodles or something. Or did they just copy that from Italy? (Since they are so good at copying things for fakes...)

Okay, in full disclosure, I also just picked up my Chinese visa at the embassy yesterday in front of Fa Lun Gong and Tibetan protesters and I walked right by them. Yes, I have to go back to the motherland at the end of the month. Ugh... (for a wedding that was supposed to be in Boston at first. I would have much preferred Boston over Shanghai).

Okay, that Video carpet really is kind of cool though! And the glowy Bird's Nest with all the fireworks is always impressive... oooh sparkly! That's how you seduce the world and numb their political senses! (Also, hot gymnasts can do that too).

Anyways, I'm still pretty busy over the next two weeks so even if I wanted to watch The Olympics, I probably wouldn't have time so I'm half boycotting it just out of time scheduling's sake but I'll probably end up watching some of it, if only for this:

and one more of Adam van Koeverden!

UPDATE: Apparently the Globe & Mail nicely put a gratuitous shot of Adam vanKoeverden on their Friday front page cover too! I'm glad even the respectable paper got into the action!

For more on the 2008 Beijing Olympics Superficial Coverage:
Oh Gay! How Cute Is Matthew Mitcham?
Oh Canada!
Wait, This Isn't Soft Core...?
Go Jump In The Pool
Men's Synchronized Diving
Swimming - Michael Phelps
Men's All Round Team Gymnastics
The Superficiality of the Olympics

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