Thursday, September 11, 2008

Hospitality at the Olympics, Part 3

This is the last of three articles written by Whitney, reflecting on her time working in Beijing during the Olympics. Whitney has a degree in hospitality and hotel management from Cornell University. She worked in Singapore for a couple of years (and also served in the Primay Presidency there) and then spent last year in Cairo before heading to the Olympics.

All the photos accompanying these articles are hers. I am very grateful to have her share her view of the Olympics with us. If you haven't read the previous articles, click here for Number One, here for Number Two.

And now, here is Number Three. Whitney writes:

The number eight turned out to be a very auspicious number indeed for these Olympic Games. The fact that the opening ceremonies started at 8:08pm on the eighth day of the eighth month of the eighth year of this century was chosen specifically for its associations with good luck. Michael Phelps also furthered to support the auspiciousness of the number eight as he defied all previous records and succeeded in winning an unprecedented eight gold medals. I personally think that not a lot of luck was involved with either the success of these games nor Michael Phelps' wins. Hard work, dedication and perseverance had more impact than luck for both Phelps and China.

China was an extremely gracious host and ensured a successful games in state-of-the-art facilities, with safety and security as a top priority. I was constantly in awe of the sheer number of people involved – whether it was the 14,000 performers at the Opening Ceremonies, the 800,000 security officials, the billions of viewers around the world – this was a truly global experience.

There is a certain feeling that I got at the last Olympics Games in Athens, which drew me back to working at these games. It is a feeling of hope. If the world can gather together to “play” games with each other and support one another’s accomplishments and celebrate the amazing feats of the human body, regardless of race, color, religion, age, and nationality, there is hope that we can do this in other arenas, such as politics, business and international trade. I saw that as I partnered with people from all over the world: China, Singapore, Zimbabwe, Mauritius, Indonesia, New Zealand, Australia, Serbia, Greece, and England.

This was China’s coming out party, and they were extremely gracious hosts to all of us involved in the games. If this was the teaser, I can hardly wait to see what their next feat will be.

Return to the Neighborhood

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