Saturday, August 9, 2008

A New Day

The Olympics are a wonderful metaphor for world cooperation, the kind of international competition that's wholesome and healthy, an interplay between countries that represents the best in all of us. ~John Williams

So I'm getting excited about going to Beijing now! Up until this point I haven't really been all that thrilled about it... China is never a place I had thought about visiting before. But yesterday, prior to the Opening Ceremonies, I started delving into the two books on Beijing I had bought months ago... and now I'm excited! Forbidden City, Temple of Heaven, Summer Palace, Lama Temple, Beihai Park, shopping at the Dirt Market and Silk Alley, taking a pedicab tour through a hutong, eating Peking Duck, going to the Beijing Opera, Tienanmen Square, and of course the Great Wall... I think there will be enough to keep us busy! It is gonna be a cool trip... And that's not even counting getting to watch Ron race against the best ("disabled") cyclists in the world! His biggest competition will be, like in Athens, Jiri from the Czech Republic, and Roberto from Spain. A new nemesis has come up through the ranks in the last four years though... a Belgian named Yuri (I think). Now, Ron loves him some Belgian beer, but this new kid may not be our favorite. He's apparently pretty darn fast. We'll see... those are three of the reasons Ron is now at camp doing the whole train/rest/train/rest routine. Much more on that to come, in this blog and in Ron's own ( Speaking of his site, as I type, it's being converted over from the old to the new-and-improved. Take a peek... he's pretty committed to keeping it updated with blog entries, including videos! Fun stuff, this technology. Both of our blogs from Athens 4 years ago are on there, and I've enjoyed going back and reading them again... it's getting me all fired up!

So the Opening Ceremonies last night?? Very cool! From the 2008 drummers to the 2008 tai chi performers, from the little girl kite flyer to the little boy earthquake surviver, I was glued to the TV. The block thingies, the torch lighting, the fireworks (including the footprints to the stadium) was all so well done! Despite this symbolic opening of the Chinese country to the world, this morning I saw on that two Americans were stabbed (and one killed) by a middle-aged Chinese man who then leapt from the drum tower to commit suicide. The Americans were family of the men's volleyball coach. What a tragedy, and after such a beautiful and hopeful first step yesterday... It will be interesting to see the media's response to this. Hopefully, they will step up security everywhere, not just at the venues. It's too bad really...

Finally before I go get on the "study bus" for my morning session, Ron is gonna be on the news tonight (NBC 13 in Birmingham at 6:30). It will be from the footage he did earlier in the week, and the interview he did at Media Day at Lakeshore Foundation last week. I've got my TiVo set... if it airs on the internet, Ron should be able to get it up to his website for all to see!

The most important thing in the Olympic games is not to win but to take part, just as the most important thing in life is not the triumph but the struggle. The essential thing is not to have conquered but to have fought well.
- from the Olympic Creed