The Olympic Experience comes to a close

“Tonight, we come to the end of 16 glorious days which we will cherish forever.” With those words, International Olympic Committee President, Jacques Rogge began the wind-up of the Olympics in China this past Sunday. According to the Associated Press 91,000 people attended the closing ceremonies.

By then, son David was safely nestled in his Newport home after 10 days in China. He called while I was submitting last week’s column to tell us he was home. He was tired but “glad he attended.” He and his varied Houston friends who traveled together to that far off land are now back at work. All good things must come to an end.

By his and others review they were “glorious day,” for them, for the athletes and for China. I do wonder how much change in China this glimpse by the outside world will make—probably very little. The Chinese Communist regime isn’t going to bend. Admittedly, I am a political conservative and have little regard for much of China’s lack of civil rights. But, I do not expect to see many changes during the rest of my lifetime.

Dave and at least one of his traveling companions are already talking of going back to China sometime soon. They are interested in seeing Beijing, and perhaps more of China, without all of the trappings that came with the Olympics. There have been many stories of the government closing factories, changing business hours, doing extra cleaning, etc. to get rid of some of the smog that normally covers the city. They want to go back and see how much change China made just for the Olympics.

Inasmuch as this is my second column on the Olympics I’m sure you can tell I am a fan and friend of the Olympics, summer and winter. While I didn’t watch all of the TV coverage I did watch a lot and managed a little each day. I’m a great fan of the athletes who have worked their hearts out to get to the Olympics. I find myself happy for the winners and sad for those who have great expectations and then lose, sometimes because of injury or some mishap. Mike and Mike on ESPN gave the Olympics an “A” for the events and Opening and Closing Ceremonies. I would agree.

These United States athletes did well this year with 110 medals, 36 of them gold. I got a good feeling for these athletes as they stood on the podium awaiting their awards. I felt good for all of them—American or not. This morning, Monday, I counted the number of countries represented by the winners. There were more than 90 and some from countries one seldom hears about or might have difficulty finding on a map. As I remember pre-Olympic hype indicated there would be 225 or so countries participating.

In this regard we say good work to the athletes, the IOC, China and others who participated in the 2008 Olympics. It was a great show. Now, for the Summer Olympics it is on to London in 2012.

Such are the people, places and things that have touched my life in my home!