Monday, August 25, 2008

Olympics Down Under

China bought an end to the 29th Summer Olympics with a symbolic and glittering ceremony last night. It was a beautiful sight.


Watching Olympics in Australia was, I daresay, a more interesting experience as there is an adopted country we can cheer for, whom by far is more powerful compared to Malaysia sporting wise. Per capita calculations indicated that for this edition, there's an Olympics medal for around 400,000 Australian to share, compared to one Olympic medal for 24,000,000 Malaysians. Australia has superstars like Stephanie Rice, who won three gold medals and broke three world records in swimming.


Of course we Malaysians here do cheer for Malaysia, especially for soon-to-be-Datuk Lee Chong Wei. Thanks to Chang Yang, who managed to get the live feed of the match online. Too bad Chong Wei got thrashed. Guess law of physics decreed that Beijing was too far for cheers of eight of the most voracious supporters to reach.


Another Olympics highlight was that I had the chance to touch a real Olympic gold medal in Uni last Wednesday. In the spirit of the games, the faculty managed to get Brooke Hanson, an Athens '04 Gold and Silver medal winning swimmer to deliver a speech in Uni.


Brooke's speech was very touching. She was the epitome of the never say die attitude, even when odds are stacked highly against her. She shared stories about her quest for Olympic qualification, how she missed a place for the '96 games by just 0.11s. Undeterred, she practiced harder for another four years, training vigorously and eating the right food - only to miss the '00 games by 0.08s.

At this stage, I presumed a lot of people who have already gave up. But not her. She stayed focus and worked hard for another four years  to reach her childhood dream. This time, she managed to qualify for '04 at the ripe old age of 26, where she went on and won gold and silver medals.

It made me realised what we saw in the Olympics was the culmination of all the athletes hard work, determination and sacrifices. Those athletics made winning looked so easy, but in fact it was pay-off for all those years of hard work. Imagine how many hours Usain Bolt had to run just for that less than 10 seconds sprint into immortality. They are to be saluted and respected.

On a side note, I had now managed to touch the medals awarded to the top brain and brawn in the world: the Nobel prize medal and Olympics gold medal. Perhaps that's what an overseas education is about: to get inspired on how to achieve greatness in life.

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