Despite all of the predictions of doom and concern, I believe the Olympics are already a success. The WSJ reports world and business leaders are crowding China’s red carpet in an unprecedented way:
Lured by the growing importance of the Chinese market and the chance to help Beijing celebrate its biggest international event yet, the number of chief executives planning to attend the Beijing Games is likely to rival the number at the annual World Economic Forum meeting in Davos, Switzerland, which often attracts more than 1,000 business leaders.
… George W. Bush will be the first sitting U.S. president to attend an Olympic Games opening ceremony on foreign soil. Despite controversy over some of China’s policies — as seen in the demonstrations during the recent Olympic-torch run — the number of heads of state planning to attend the opening ceremony is roughly double the number who attended the opening of the Athens Games four years ago.”
After being fixated on potential boycotts by heads of state for 4 months, only now am I realizing how remarkable it is that so many heads of state were consider coming at all.
No matter how many “T” hand-signals are made, no matter how blue the sky is, no matter how many streakers rush the field, no matter how many protests happen on Tiananmen, and no matter if Liu Xiang doesn’t win the gold… we are finally ready to answer (in style) the question first posed exactly 100 years ago, when a Qingdao youth magazine asked the then-feeble Chinese nation: “When will China host its first Olympics?” (三问中国)
The ultimate purpose of the Beijing Olympics is to highlight and celebrate China’s arrival on the international stage. So, let’s enjoy the moment.