The 2008 Beijing Olympics and what it means for China

By: Alexi

Perhapsno other sporting event in the world has such a rich history as theSummer Olympic Games. From its origins in ancient Greece, the gameshave travelled the world for centuries. And this summer, they come toanother ancient land, China.

Beijing will play host to the 2008 Summer Olympics, the 29thOlympiad in modern times. This is the first time China has ever hostedthe Olympics. Billions of dollars have been invested in buildingstunning new sports venues; including the 80,000 seat National Stadium,a wonder of architectural design and beauty.

Inpreparation for the games, the Chinese people have become “Olympicscrazed," filled with a tremendous sense of pride in their country,which has always been considered something of a closed society byWesterners. Even those of Chinese ancestry overseas have shown theirsupport by attending the torch relays as they pass through their homecountries.

Perhaps that’s why the Chinese have selected such an appropriate theme for their first Olympics:

ý*L , ý*?ó. In Chinese, this means “One World One Dream."

Forthe Chinese, it’s certainly a dream come true. The new sportingfacilities were built almost entirely with corporate funding. Thegovernment only paid 15% of the total cost, a remarkable feat initself. When the Games end, the venues will be used to train China’snational teams as well as to host world-class sporting events.

Chinesehope that the Games will not only improve the reputation of theircountry in the arena of world opinion, but also improve living andworking conditions at the same time. While China is fast becoming aworld economic powerhouse, it is still has a ways to go in manyrespects. The Summer Olympics will certainly help move things forwardin the country.

Thoughit lags behind Western cultures on some fronts, China is one of theleaders in using the cutting edge technologies and techniques to teachits residents how to speak Chinese. Of course, students have alwaysbeen taught how to speak Chinese in schools. But the use of technologyto teach Chinese allows others, particularly those in Westerncountries, to learn how to speak Chinese from those who are fluent inthe language.

Astens of thousands of journalists, sports fans and world leaders come toBeijing this summer; there’s never been a better time for Westerners tolearn to speak Chinese. Not only will it make the Games more enjoyable,but you can dazzle your friends by not only being able to read ý*L ý*?ó, but pronounce it as well.

Oncething’s for certain. The 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing promise to putChina in the winner’s circle as it takes the world stage in August.Only time will tell if it’s a Gold Medal performance. But you can gofor the Gold yourself by learning to speak Chinese in the monthsleading up to the Games. A great place to start is Mando Mandarin (),which provides students with easy to learn lessons, taught by nativespeakers. You can even learn how to speak Chinese in your spare timewith their innovative language system.

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