Thursday, August 28, 2008
Next Stop, London
Sports - Olympics - Beijing 2008
According to an advert from Bank PHB shown constantly during the duration of the just concluded 29th Olympiad, a man needs to take more than 6 steps every second to beat the current 100 metres World record.
Well, Bank PHB lied…
Or rather, the Jamaican Usain Bolt proved them wrong using his long strides to beat not only the 100 metres but the 200 metres World records. And so the Beijing 2008 Olympics came to an end with the extinguishing of the Olympic torch that had burned steadily for the past 16 days marking the end of the Games that saw the breaking of over 40 world records and recording a large number of firsts.
During the course of the two weeks and two days broadcast, the world was held spellbound as several countries that were formerly tagged underdogs shocked everyone with their impressive showings on the medals table. On the other end of the divide, several big names failed to live up to expectations with their dismal performances.
Case in point of the former was Jamaica’s domination of the sprints with the “Thunderbolt” Usain doing most of the legwork. Nigerians however must have been very disappointed by the poor showings of their Team which failed to make any impact at all apart from the exploits of the male football team. Their well-earned silver medals plus 3 bronze medals in the athletics and Taekwondo was a fitting reflection of the fire-brigade approach that symbolized their state of preparedness.
Speaking of preparedness, the gains of planning ahead was evident especially when coupled with the power of determination. When American, Michael Phelps announced prior to the Games that he intended winning 8 gold medals in the swimming events, some people scoffed. Now after convincingly winning his stated 8 swimming medals, Michael is the one doing all the scoffing.
Phelps, Bolt and all the other new record holders must have trained hard, secretly breaking their respective world and Olympic records in their training facilities during the trials, each waiting for this chance to showcase their skills to an eager world. Their less-fortunate colleagues trained less, a few shot up on banned substances and all hoped to win.
In a closing ceremony that rivaled - if not surpassed - the opening ceremony, China pleased and wowed us with their pyrotechnics, gymnastic displays, stunning choreography, the non-stop ballet of lights and music and the selfless contributions of thousands of volunteers. From Beijing the baton now moves over to London which will play host to the world yet again 4 years from now. Heralded by the arrival of a double-decker bus, a stage performance by Jimmy Paige and Leona Lewis and the kick of a football into the crowd by poster boy David Beckham, London now shoulders the responsibility of making sure the world remains caught up in anticipation of the 30th Olympiad, London 2012.
Their inaccurate ad aside, Bank PHB does deserve FULL commendations for bringing this year’s games to the homes of the common people who wouldn’t have seen them otherwise. The up-to-the-minute broadcast of events as they happened has never been done in this country before. Let’s just hope four years from now there’ll be a Bank PHB to do same.
A rare display of thanks should also be duly given to NTA and the other BON studios for keeping our TVs alive with the best broadcast of the Olympics so far. They won an unrecognized silver medal. And while we are at it, we might as well give a rusty iron medal to the Power Holding Company for keeping the power on a bit more regularly. Or maybe to that your friendly neighbour with the noisy generator.
Oh, and lest I forget, there was one more gold medal that wasn’t listed on that table. It was given to the best Olympic viewer and was won by a Nigerian… Me!
See you in London…