Giant on the move
Sebastian Coe says London is undaunted at having to follow Beijing when it hosts the next Summer Olympics and Paralympics in 2012.
“It’s a massive responsibility,” the chairman of the London Organising Committee for the Olympic Games told a news conference on the eve of the closing ceremony of the Paralympics.
“We don’t find it daunting. I can only relate it to when I was sitting in a stadium when I was still a competitor watching an outstanding performance in my own event,” added the twice Olympic champion middle distance runner.
“I didn’t feel cowed by it, I went out and wanted to emulate it or even better it… Beijing has delivered a spectacular Games and we will also deliver a spectacular Games.”
Double amputee Oscar Pistorius has put the disappointment of not qualifying for the Beijing Olympics behind him and is confident of snaring three gold medals in the athletics at the Paralympics.
He is also looking forward to an attempt to make the next Olympics in London 2012.
Beijing opened the Paralympic Games in spectacular fashion on Saturday, the crowd at the Bird’s Nest roaring in approval at the lavish performance overseen by renowned Chinese film director Zhang Yimou.
Particularly well received was a moving ballet performance by a young girl who lost a leg in May’s massive Sichuan earthquake.
Well, not quite the Bird’s Nest, but from the Reuters office at the Main Press Centre, just down the road.
Thanks for coming by and making this blog such a lively place during the Olympics. It might not quite be the end — the blog will still be here, the comments will remain open and we may well have a few more posts on Games-related issues — but I’m on my way out of Beijing (the office is being dismantled around me, as you can see).
My abiding memory from these Games will be watching Usain Bolt give everything he had to break a world record most of us had thought unbreakable.
Michael Johnson’s time of 19.32 in the 200 metres had never been seriously challenged before the Jamaican sprinter, a headline writer’s dream, decided it was finally time to get down to some serious work.
I’d expected the worst when I got to Beijing three weeks ago. I remember what it was like in another Communist country — East Germany with its suppressed and scared people coupled with deplorable service and shoddy quality everywhere you turned.
That’s roughly what I had in mind for China, although I knew Beijing itself would certainly be a more prosperous and modern place than East Germany, and with a bit of window dressing for the Olympics.
Michael Phelps trouncing his rivals is always something fantastic to see, and here in Beijing it took your breath away to watch him so often leave everyone else for dead.
But the races which stick most vividly in my mind are the two in which gold appeared to have escaped him.
As Olympic visitors started to worry on Sunday about airport return traffic, cars in Beijing were being parked on sidewalks again.
Night clubs were open after an anti-prostitution blitz a few weeks ago. Once banished vendors scrummed on sidewalks to sell Olympic pins, the collection of which had grown to a competitive roar among locals close to the Games.
Riding a wave of sporting euphoria after its best Olympic performance in a century, Britain accepted Olympic host-nation status from China on Sunday with a huge street party in front of Buckingham Palace.
Owen Wyatt catches up with Olympic gold medallists Michael Phelps and Bradley Wiggins as London throbbed with 40,000 partygoers at a live concert to start the countdown to the London 2012 Olympics.
It was everything the event was not supposed to be. The Olympics should embody sportsmanship and fair play. Taekwondo is about discipline and civility in a fight.
Unfortunately Cuba’s Angel Vaoldia Matos forgot about both in the heat of his bronze medal bout.