Monday, June 25, 2007

Samaranch's Farewell Tour

Former International Olympic Committee President Juan Antonio Samaranch is in Beijing these few days. The 87 year-old looks like he's on his farewell tour and the Chinese are giving him the VIP treatment all the way.

Today he was at Renmin University receiving an honorary professorship, as the post secondary institution has established an Olympic studies program researching the social and economic benefits of hosting the Games. Experts from the United States, the UK, Canada and Australia are part of this think tank.

Samaranch said his love for China started when he first visited in 1978 and after he was elected president of the IOC he encouraged the Chinese to bid for the Olympics. He himself felt China was robbed of the 2000 Games when they went to Sydney. But he's now pleased that Beijing is hosting the Olympics next year. He declared, "I am sure these Olympics will be the best Olympics in history," to which the crowd of mostly university students clapped loudly.

The university then showered him with a number of gifts, including a massive monochromatic oil portrait of him. I wonder where he's going to hang that.

He said the current president, Jacques Rogge will open the Games in Beijing next year. But I don't think that's going to stop Samaranch from coming back for an encore visit.


ks said...

samaranch is a true internationalist. he deserved every bit of respect and honour we can give him in return. the us has vetoed chinese participation on numerous occasions in the past decades . they fear that china will surpass them in the olympics and lose face internationally. recently the china iron man yang chuen kwong died. i remember in the 60's he and johnson were arch rivals. us manipulated the point counting system in order to let johnson have an edge in the decathlon event.

Dai Lang Jite said...

WHY does Mr. Samaranch say that China was "robbed" of the Olympic Games? A vote was taken by the Int. Olympic Committee, and Australia won the vote. It is as simple as that. Just because someone or some country wants something really really bad, is not logical reason that they should get it. In fact, if China had won back in 2000, the country probably did not have either the finances or the management expertise to handle this huge event. So the results might have been flawed of mediocre. But now, the country has both the money and the extra 8 years of int. management training, so the country will likely host a one of the finest Olympics in history. And so surely it will have been worth the extra wait.

After all, there is an old Chinese saying: "It is through patience that the mulberry leaf becomes a silk gown.

Dai Lang Jite