Saturday, August 09, 2008

China's Dream Comes True

Finally the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games began on 08.08.08! It was the day Chinese have been eagerly anticipating since 2001. The countdown went from years, months and days to hours and seconds. That day in Beijing, all offices were closed, stores closed at 3 p.m., and all flights were grounded since noon. Newspapers, radio, TV and all media were focused on the opening ceremonies, how an audience of 160,000 was prepared to attend, what the weather would look like that evening, and who would be the person to light the Olympic flames. Everyone was so excited to be celebrating what was essentially the biggest festival in history.

I went to my father's home near the Bird's Nest to watch the ceremony around 6 p.m. (Even I couldn't see the live performance.) On the way, I realized the city streets were empty. The taxi driver said even Chinese New Year's Eve was busier. He told me over and over how lucky I was to see the fireworks near the Bird's Nest. We could miss the Chinese New Year Eve’s performance, he said, because we would see it next year. But we can't miss the Olympics opening ceremonies, because this wouldn't happen again in 100 years. This is our dream of 100 years, and we should not let it slip by!

While I was surprised the taxi could take me right in front of the building as usual, I did see hundreds of policeman, soldiers and Olympic volunteers in the area. They just stood there to make sure people and cars wouldn't go through the area even closer to the Bird's Nest. Hundreds of people were on the streets to see the live fireworks, too!

Finally the ceremony started at 8 p.m., with 2,008 drummers performing on ancient Chinese drums. The one-hour performance with 20,000 performers showed 5,000 years of Chinese history, ancient inventions, culture, and modern advances. Each performance was as exciting, astonishing, surprising and spectacular as the next. I was totally moved, and so were my friends who watched with me. The 29-foot fireworks along the Beijing ancient city represented the 29th Olympic games. All the fireworks were beautiful and exciting.

Finally, we found out the person who lit the Olympic flame was Li Ning. For the last few days, everyone was guessing who'd get this honor. When we finally saw Li Ning, we all got so excited! Really, no one would've been a better choice than Li Ning. Li won 3 Olympic gold medals in the 1984 Los Angeles Olympic Games and after he retired, he started a sporting goods company that has become one of the most well-known brands in China. ChinaSprout also carries his company’s Olympic collections, such as the Olympic Mascot Thermoses, Beijing Olympics Jingjing Mascot T-shirt for boys, Beijing Olympics Jingjing Mascot T-shirt for girls, and more.

When the ceremony ended, people were still celebrating in the streets. The next day, all the media talked about the opening ceremonies and what happened behind the scenes. My friends and relatives talked about how proud they were to see the once-in-a-lifetime performance that shared so much Chinese history and culture with the world. One taxi driver told me he liked the performance, but felt it should have been more powerful. It seemed all Chinese were so proud to see our hundred-year dream come true!