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     Volume 7 Issue 33 | August 15, 2008 |

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100 Years of Dreaming

Li Xing

The Chinese began to dream of the Olympics in 1908, the year when London hosted the Summer Olympics for the first time. Finally, on August 8 the Olympics opens in Beijing

Googling key words such as 'Olympics dream'; we get both hilarious and sad stories of athletes from different countries. Some have won their berths and are coming to Beijing with high expectations while others are seeing their dreams dashed as a result of injuries or other problems.

Their laughter or tears only enhance our conviction that the simple “One World, One Dream” theme does follow the fundamental principles of Olympism.

Liu Changchun, embarked on the Chinese people's first journey to the Olympics in Los Angeles in 1932.
Courtesy: news.dlut.edu.cn

Enshrined in the Olympic Charter, these stipulate, among others, the way of life “based on the joy of effort, the educational value of good example and respect for universal fundamental ethical principles”; and the service of sport for “the harmonious development of man, with a view to promoting a peaceful society concerned with the preservation of human dignity”.

'Dream' here means aspiration and goal, but I believe even today not many people, especially those in the West who are busy pointing fingers at human rights problems in China, are aware how much humiliation, subjugation, wars and poverty the Chinese have suffered and overcome to realise the one Olympics dream.

While the history of modern Olympics started 114 years ago, the Chinese began to dream of the Olympics in 1908, the year when London hosted the Summer Olympics for the first time.

Until the early 1990s, a nonagenarian in Tianjin still remembered watching a slide show of the gala ceremony of the world sports event along with students from Nankai University. He also recalled seeing the students hanging banners with three questions:

“When will China be able to send athletes to the Olympics?”

“When will China win an Olympics gold medal?”
“When will China host the Olympics?”

It was 24 years since then before the first lonely Chinese, Liu Changchun, embarked on the Chinese people's first journey to the Olympics in Los Angeles in 1932 and competed only in the heats of the 100m and 200m.

Another 52 years passed before Xu Haifeng, China's sharpshooter, won the country's first-ever Olympics gold. And it is yet another 24 years later that the Olympics opens in Beijing.

Wu Chuanyu won a gold medal in the 100 metre backstroke swimming event at the Fourth World Juniors and Students Friendship Game in Bucharest. It was the first time that the Chinese national flag rose in international sports arenas.
Courtesy: Official Website of Beijing Organising Committee for the Games of the XXIX Olympiad

I know it is really hard for those former colonialists who once enjoyed bullying the Chinese and treating them as the 'Yellow peril' or 'Asian weak' to share with them the efforts in making Beijing the home of the 2008 Olympics for the world's athletes.

It is also very difficult for those who preach Western supremacy to see the Chinese exploring and blazing our own trail of development and winning the trust of the world to host the Olympic Games.

It is only natural for them to try to smear or even spoil the world's eagerness for a successful Beijing Olympic Games and to scrutinise anything Chinese with coloured microscopes.

And it should be no wonder they see the patriotism of the young Chinese as a “threat”, even though patriotism is deeply embedded in Americanism or the French idea of liberty. While trying to impose their values, they are actually robbing other people of their own national identity and dignity.

Since we have come a long way to prepare for hosting the Olympics through many twists and turns, we should learn to live with the ridicules and even the slander while pursuing and enjoying the dream. It is not only our own but one of the world's.

We should also be realistic that we are, after all, human. Since no human being is perfect, we are bound to miss a few steps and leave some loopholes. It simply doesn't matter as long as we correct our mistakes, plug the loopholes, smile and apologise.

We are making our once-in-a-lifetime dream come true, so let's enjoy it.

Source: China Daily, ANN Magazine

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