One for All, All for One

There’s been a furore over China’s handling of the Olympics opening.  By now, everyone knows that a little girl lip-synched, and 28 out of 29 footprints seen on TV were digital images because the hazy skies prevented the real footprint fireworks from being captured.

Beijing’s critics have jumped at these examples to criticise China.  They laugh and delight in this opportunity to diss China.  What they have failed to realise is that, for the Chinese, it is always country before self.  In order to make their country proud, thousands of Chinese have learnt to speak English so they can be good hosts to the foreign guests.  Thousands more have put themselves through hours and hours of grueling rehearsals in order to put on the grandest Olympic opening the world has ever seen.  It was not for personal glory.  It was one for all.

I came across this article about how the USA lost the gold medal in gymnastics to China by 2.375 points.  I couldn’t help but roll my eyes when I read it.  USA’s gymnastics veteran, Alicia Sacramone fell twice.  Once when she was on the beam, and again when she was doing her floor exercise.  And what did USA’s national team coordinator Martha Karolyi have to say to that?  She said Sacramone lost her focus because of a longer than expected hold before being allowed to mount the beam.

"The judges had no reasons to hold her up, but they were not allowed to start," Karolyi said.  "They got a signal from somewhere that it was not time to start. It was totally unusual, that is all I can say."

As for Sacramone?  This was what she said.  "I was nervous and wanted to get the show on the road, and I let my nerves get the best of me. There was no sign (with her name on the scoreboard, signaling she could start her routine), just a blank screen.  It felt like it took forever for mine (name) to come up."

An athlete falls and the team coordinator jumps to her defence.  All for one. 

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August 2008