Changing China

Giant on the move

One world, one dream…

July 2, 2008

Dallas’ Nowitzki grabs a rebound in their NBA game in Dallas, TexasDirk Nowitzki says he’s been dreaming about going to the Olympics since he saw the 1988 Games on TV as a 10-year-old boy.

He’s spent the last 10 summers in the NBA off-season working hard to help Germany qualify for the Olympics again for the first time since 1992 — and the Dallas Mavericks’ all-star from Germany looked completely shattered when his team came up heartbreakingly short in the 2003 European Championships, the qualifier for the 2004 Olympics. 

Nowitzki and Germany again failed to qualify directly for the Olympics at last year’s European Championships as well — but they still could get tickets to Beijing if they finish in the top three at a 12-team tournament set for mid-July.  

It’s not like I really know how Nowitzki feels because I don’t. I’ve never been in the NBA nor have I played for Germany or any other country.

But in a way, I think I do understand.  

Ever since I first saw the 1968 Olympics on TV as an eight-year-old in Connecticut, I too started dreaming about going.

As Nowitzki said: ”The whole thing just fascinates me”.

My never-really-that promising high school basketball career ended at 18 and despite some modest success later on in local triathlons, I knew I didn’t have a prayer there either — and it wasn’t even yet an Olympic sport. 

 When I started working as a financial journalist at Reuters in 1990, I began looking into the “qualifiers” needed to get onto the Olympics reporting team. The competition was fierce. I nevertheless thought I might be getting close to a ticket to Sydney in 2000 but wasn’t nominated.

I felt even closer to making the squad in 2004 but again wasn’t picked, although I did make it on the “alternates” list.  I had pretty much given up hope when suddenly in mid July 2004 the phone rang. Someone on the team had become pregnant and couldn’t go. Was I still available?  

So I made it to Athens at the last minute and have been looking forward to Beijing ever since. I hope Nowitzki gets his mid-July invitation this time too.

Picture of Dallas Mavericks and Germany forward Dirk Nowitzki  by Mike Stone   

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