- 6 Aug 08, 07:11 PM
Olympic Green is closed. There are no stalls, no music, no entertainers, no colour, no food sellers - no fun! So close to the opening ceremony, surely crowds should be congregating and people should be gathering to enjoy a festive build-up to the 29th Olympiad. Perimeter fencing surrounds the Olympic park, where many of these spectacular new venues for the Beijing Games are located. This is where the "Water Cube" is, where the "Bird's Nest" stadium is. This is the focal point of the Games.
Today I wanted to speak with foreigners who have arrived in Beijing to watch the Games and to partake in what should be a wonderful sporting and cultural festival, but Olympic Green is closed. So I didn't find them there, but rather, like me walking along the perimeter fence, looking in and asking some of the thousands of volunteers why they couldn't go in. "Sorry" was the only answer.
Everyone is very friendly, but there is something missing and it's obvious what that is - it's fun! And here is one of the many fears of foreigners in Beijing. While acknowledging that out of all the previous editions, the 2008 Games will almost undoubtedly be the most visually impressive and the most beautiful to the billions watching on TV, but for those of us here personally in Beijing to partake in this historic event, the games of the 29th Olympiad may turn out to be the ones with the least fun to be had.
The cultural conjugation that comes with the Olympics is part of the whole core of the Olympic movement and enjoying the cultural exchange is very much part of that movement.
The question is, where's the fun in closing Olympic Green? Are people being made to wait until the 8th? Once the Games are under way the Olympic Park and the Green really will be the focus of the event. I met groups of Dutch, Italian and American travellers, and a solitary Pole, all here to enjoy the build-up as well as the Games themselves.
All hoped that everyone would come together and enjoy the 16 days of competition and that everyone would be able to participate together in an international union of sport and culture. All were well aware of the amount of negative reporting in the build-up to these Games, but all agreed you have to be here to appreciate the reality of what Beijing has done.
This setting is spectacular, smog or no smog, and if the Olympics live up to their surroundings there's no doubt that they will be a success, but why can't we have some fun now? Please let us walk and talk together on Olympic Green, taste, see and hear the best that Chinese culture has to offer. One of the Dutch contingent said that security was clearly the key issue, while one of his fellow travellers said that if anyone was concerned about security they shouldn't be here. But, as Andre from Poland said, and these will be his seventh Olympics, extra-heightened security is a fact of life and it all began as far as the Olympics are concerned with Atlanta in 1996. How are those Games remembered?
Let's hope we start, continue and end with a smile!
My Games in any case will be offering fun for all throughout the games! If you want to appear live on the show, or just have an opinion to share, email us at email@example.com.
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