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Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Rio 2016 Olympics sets good example; Smug Aussie swimmer won’t cloud Rio

The Olympic flame burns in Maracana Stadium during the opening ceremony at the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Aug 5, 2016. [Photo by Wei Xiaohao/China Daily]


Congratulations, and many thanks to Rio de Janeiro, for the innovatively choreographed and beautifully executed opening ceremony for the Olympic Games, which was mesmerizing, inspiring, and thoroughly entertaining.

From supermodel Gisele Bundchen's elegant walk across the stadium floor and the first-ever refugee team to the all-green Olympic rings and the Samba, there was indeed plenty to enjoy and remember.

What amazed us even more is the way Rio has achieved it, and in such a graceful manner, when so many thought it was impossible.

The Rio Games could not have come at a worse time for Brazil, under the triple pressures of an economic recession, the like of which the country has not seen in decades, a domestic political crisis and the Zika threat.

The prospect of Rio hosting a decent Olympics once seemed so bleak that some even suspected the International Olympic Committee had made a bad choice awarding the city the 2016 Summer Games.

With Beijing and London setting a high bar for opening ceremony theatricality, few had anticipated anything this impressive from Rio. After all, opening ceremonies are increasingly costly these days with host countries competing to invest in effects they deem commensurate with the self-image they intend to project.

Rio, on the other hand, had a budget that was reportedly 12 times less than London's and 20 times less than Beijing's. It was operating on a comparative shoestring.

But the show they presented was nothing short of spectacular. Which prompted one Chinese commentator to gasp in admiration, "Who needs money when you have a conscience?"

Money does matter when it comes to hosting an international sporting event like the Olympic Games. But Rio offered a loud reminder that money is not everything, and conscience and creativity can go a long way.

Besides visuals that were hardly less fabulous than what we saw in Beijing and London, and the strong message about climate change, this aspect of the opening ceremony challenges future hosts and the Olympic community to rethink the way the world's largest sporting gala is handled.

We particularly admire the organizers' idea that it was unnecessary to spend large sums of money on the opening ceremony, when such undertakings as education and public health in Brazil are crying out for funds.

Like the "Avatar-like allegiance" to the environment demonstrated in the opening ceremony, this is a poignant Brazilian statement on conscience and social responsibility we sincerely wish will reach the hearts of all future Olympic hosts. Including those in Beijing, who are preparing for the upcoming 2022 Winter Olympics. - (China Daily)

Rio 2016 medals tally

Search Results

Olympic Games Rio 2016
OVERVIEWSportsON TVSCHEDULEAthletesMEDALSCountries
Medal standings

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1
United States

5
7
7
19

2
China

5
3
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13

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Australia

4
0
3
7

4
Italy

3
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2
9

5
Japan

3
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7
10

Smug Aussie swimmer won’t cloud Rio


Mack Horton of Australia (Center), Sun Yang of China (Left) and Gabriele Detti of Italy pose with their medals during the Men's 400m Freestyle Victory Ceremony in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil on August 6, 2016. [Photo/Agencies]

The Chinese Swimming Association (CSA) has called its Australian counterpart, to demand Australian swimmer Mack Horton apologize to Chinese swimmer Sun Yang, against whom Horton initiated a personal attack. To no one's surprise, the Australian side declined, saying Horton "is entitled to express a point of view."

The CSA's protest is a consolation for Sun, and the one voice from the Chinese media and public backing Sun shows the unity of Chinese society and the people's human touch.

Horton won the first gold medal for Australia at the Rio Olympics, and has become a hero for the country. It is understandable if Swimming Australia finds it difficult to teach him a lesson right now for his rude and irresponsible words.

The problem is that it seems the entire sports circle and media in Australia do not have a problem with Horton's ill-mannered and provocative remarks. In a response to the CSA, Swimming Australia didn't forget to flaunt the "freedom of speech" cliché with a swaggering ego. According to their logic, it seems that no matter how derisive and slanderous the remarks could be, it is all free speech, which should be praised.

If so, the focus of the squabble will go beyond Horton's ill manners and silliness. The whole level of Australia's awareness of sports ethics and glory is as low as that of a young and brash kid.

Australia's aberrant response is confusing not only to the Chinese, but also to many other Westerners. How come the Australians are not ashamed of Horton's personal attacks, but are shamelessly climbing to the moral high ground in this case?

From China's perspective, Australia, an English-speaking and developed country, is a typical part of the Western world. But actually, Australia has always been a "second-class citizen" in the West, and many people from Western Europe, especially the UK, feel condescension toward Australians.

Australia used to be a land populated by the UK's unwanted criminals, and this remains a stigma attached to Australian culture.

Eager to be completely accepted by the Western world and afraid of being overlooked, Australia has grown docile and obedient in face of the US and the UK.

However, in front of Asian countries, it cannot help but effuse its white supremacy. The tangle of inferiority and superiority has numerous reflections in Australia's foreign exchanges.

We don't have to take seriously the tinge of barbarism that comes out of some Australians, nor should we pay keen attention to some vindictive provocations. China cannot be distracted from its own path of development, so it should turn a blind eye to what should be despised.

Horton and his backers represent the dark side of Australian society, and it is time for us to look at the bright side of the Olympic Games. This trifling botheration won't ruin our beautiful memories of this grand event. - Global Times

Related:

There is a line between free speech and "trash talk" : IOC
The International Olympic Committee (IOC) supports freedom of speech but there should be a line drawn between freedom to speak and "trash talk".


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