The 29th Summer Olympics just ended and it will go as one of the most memorable events in my life. It all started in 2006 when I came to Beijing to work for an Australian research company. At first, I was hesitant to move as I’m quite comfortable with my teaching job in the south. However, I told myself, I want to watch and experience the Olympics.
I’m not a sports buff but I’m quite a fan of women’s artistic gymnastics and swimming. Ever since I was young and watching Nadia Comaneci performing perfect 10s in different events, I was already hooked. My dad taught me swimming when I was young but I was never competitive so I just consoled myself cheering for whoever was competing.
Last year when they did a lottery of Olympic tickets, my friend and I submitted our wish list. I only won a badminton event for my friend but he won several events including the all around individual final in women’s gymnastics. Phase 2 and phase 3, I was lucky to win some more tickets for him. I was hoping to get some swimming tickets but to no avail. In any case, my friend promised one of the gymnastics ticket to me and I was satisfied.
A part of the Olympics is the torch relay. My friend Marco was lucky enough to be voted #2 among foreigners living in China which was sponsored by Lenovo. He invited me along with his mom and sister to join him and witness his run in Lanzhou. Albeit it was a short run, the experience and the atmosphere was totally different. We almost got detained by the authorities when they mistakenly thought the Philippine flag as a Tibetan flag.
When I moved to a different company early this year, I never imagined that I would be working at the National Stadium aka Bird’s Nest. I applied for the position of leasing manager or customer manager but was later asked to write articles regarding the Bird’s Nest project.
I was able to witness the stages of development of the Nest from when it was almost over, to the two Good Luck Games and to the Olympic Games. It’s all surreal as my friend said. We never thought this will happen to us. We were happy with our tickets and just being here during the Olympics. However, watching the dress rehearsals of the Opening ceremonies, being there up close and personal with the athletes is more than what we could have imagined.
The opening ceremonies was fantastic so to speak. I enjoyed the drums in the beginning, the bird’s nest figure, the boxes and the fireworks. The performance was a work of art. It took thousands of people to accomplish and three years in the making.
I was also able to meet and shake hands with my country’s president when she invited us for lunch to salute our athletes. The athletes who were warm-hearted and accomodating, who are humble and determined were there to be supported by our country and by the people.
The games itself were awesome. The level of performances these people put out to compete in such a prestigious event. The tears, the feeling of success, the moment that they’ve worked hard for came to an end in this Olympics. It was a different feeling to be there and share with their success, to cry with their defeat and to cheer with all those people in the venue.
As it was about to end, I was no longer awestruck by the performances but in return starstruck. I never thought I would be able to meet famous people in my life such as David Beckham, Jackie Chan (thrice), Stephanie Sun, Andy Lau, Karen Mok & Wang Leehom. When I say meet, I was actually a few meters away from them and was able to stare at them. I didn’t get to take pictures but just meeting them was more than enough.
This Olympics changed my life. It made me grow as an individual. It made me learn from it. It brought me joy, tears and fatigue but in the end it was all worth it. Thank you Beijing for a wonderful Olympics and for the many firsts that you’ve given me.