Wednesday, August 6, 2008

I am an Olympics junkie!

I am an Olympics junkie. Love it. I really do. Perhaps it is from spending my early years being raised in the States where Olympic hype is totally over-the-top. Around here the talk of Olympics is far less about the athletes or sports and far more about the stupidity of choosing Beijing in the first place. Perhaps if it were held someplace else there would be far more talk about the events. Oh, if they could get tickets, but that's a whole other topic.

Imagine how much fodder there is to write!

But today, I'm sticking with F.U.N. Sharing a few little known, somewhat odd, Beijing Olympic factoids such as:
  • The Beijing Olympics have been dubbed the "first ever web 2.0 Games" because of the amount of athlete blogging expected, but the International Olympic Committee plans to restrict what athletes can post on their blogs during the Olympiad.
  • In an effort to ease traffic during the Games, officials have implemented a system to alternate even-odd license plates to keep half of all Beijing vehicles off the roads on any given day between July 20 and Sept. 20.
  • In an effort to clean up Beijing taxis before the Games, drivers have been asked not to eat, spit, smoke, wear earrings, shave their heads, or sport beards in their cabs during the Games.
  • Olympic authorities have forbidden dog meat from all 112 official Olympic restaurants and have urged others to take canine options off their menus for duration of the Olympics and Paralympics.
  • Chinese authorities expect 9,000 marriage license applications allowing couples to be wed on Aug. 8, 2008, the day of the Olympic opening ceremonies. The number eight is said to bring good fortune in Chinese tradition.
  • More than 4,000 Chinese babies have been named "Aoyun" or "Olympic Games" over the past 15 years, with the greatest surge coming after China's 1992 unsuccessful bid for the 2000 Games.
  • Olympic organizers are warning spectators that banners, leaflets, musical instruments, radios, sit-in protests and nudity are banned from sporting events.
  • Chinese authorities have set up "cloud seeding" rockets designed to break up clouds threatening the opening ceremonies in Beijing on Aug. 8 - the effectiveness of the technique is debated among scientists.
  • The five Olympic mascots are Bei Bei, a fish; Jing Jing, a panda; Huan Huan, a flame; Ying Ying, a Tibetan antelope; and Ni Ni, a swallow.
  • When translated and said in succession, the names of the five mascots, Bei Bei, Jing Jing, Huan Huan, Ying Ying and Ni Ni, mean "Beijing welcomes you!"
  • In June, the Chinese government called in 400 boats and 3,000 people to clean a slimy green algae bloom that covered the water in Qingdao, the site of the sailing events.
  • More than 21,000 journalists are expected to cover the Olympic Games in Beijing.
  • There will 80,000 people contributing to the Olympic security effort throughout China.
  • An estimated 10,500 athletes are expected to compete in 302 events in 33 sports at the 2008 Summer Games.
  • Roughly 7 million tickets were available for the various events and ceremonies, with an expected US$140 million in revenue (apparently many are fake, so check yours!)
Other, not necessarily Beijing related factoids:
  • Henri de Baillet-Latour, former Olympic Committee president, banned all women's races longer than 200 metres after the 1928 Amsterdam Games. In the 1930's Olympic doctors warned women who ran the 800-metres would "become old too soon." The women's marathon finally became an Olympic event in 1984.
  • Before Olympians began receiving Olympic gold, silver and bronze alloy medals in 1904, winners were awarded a silver medal and olive branch.
  • U.S. marathon runner Fred Lorz was disqualified after a record-breaking win at the 1904 St. Louis Olympic Games. After crossing the finish line in just three hours and 13 minutes, officials discovered he rode in a car for nearly 18 kilometres of the race.
  • At the 1900 Games in Paris, the Dutch rowing team scouted a French boy as a last-minute replacement coxswain and won the regatta. The boy disappeared after the race and his identity remains a mystery.
  • Los Angeles was the first host city to turn a profit at the 1984 Summer Games with US$238 million raised.
At any rate, Beijing promises to be the Olympics of EXCESS. Too much smog, too many weird rules, too much censorship, too much control, too many reporters, just too much!

But yes, I am an Olympics junkie. I am going to watch anxiously, every day.

1 comment:

CloverGirl said...

I'm an Plympic junkie, too!!! The kids have been asking what the Olympics is and why I'm so excited. Ah, just wait my little ones!! :)