Over the next few days this blog will relive some of the sights and sounds of Beijing one year prior, when the greatest show on Earth rolled into town and completely transformed this metropolis. You might remember if you were here: blue skies every day, students handing out "good ways to act" cards, face-painted foreigners everywhere and everyone so friendly and helpful. It must have been unimaginable for long-time residents who were used to loogies on sidewalks and street vendors at every corner. Some remained cynical through it all -- indeed, some had a right to be, they who were displaced and inconvenienced -- though the majority of folks, I think, embraced the experience as the kind of once-in-a-lifetime event that really does have lasting consequences, changing things for the better.
A personal note: As a native Beijinger (disclaimer: I grew up in Kansas), I'd eyed the Olympics ever since I was in high school as a can't-miss event. After graduating from college, I was more determined than ever to come to Beijing, even if that meant leaving a cushy freelance job at ESPN the Magazine. In April I did just that and eventually landed a weekly writing gig with The Mag's website -- archive of stories here.
It's pointless to recount how my life has changed since then -- or more accurately, because of the Olympics (just look at how many posts on this blog are labeled "Olympics" -- I've written more about this topic than any other). Let's launch into this retrospective, shall we?
100 days left!
Kaila! Jordan! Kevsther!
2 years ago