Beijing Olympics

Trip Start Apr 02, 2008
Trip End Ongoing

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Thursday, August 14, 2008

The Summer Olympic Games 2008...

Host country was China, host city Beijing and our base for 13 days. We had varied expectations on how this big country would cope with hosting the Olympics as we'd heard all the stories!

We arrived via Canada on the 13th August. Thank you Niamh Harmon for the great efforts you went to in getting us there. We really appreciate your hard work - pounding the pavements of Dublin and knocking on the Chinese Embassy door (on numerous occasions!!) for us. Thanks also to Guy Robbins, John Gillis and Eamon Falvey for helping us with the Visa situation. Yis are great!

Our 1st day at the games was the 14th August. We went to Basketball via the Sportsworld office to collect half of our tickets. We made it just in time for Australia vs Iran. We were surrounded by Aussie supporters - don't think Basketball has really taken off in Iran as yet. The Aussies won comfortably.
That evening we went to the Boxing. There was an Irish hopeful - Joe Joe Nevin. As it turned out, he lost in a count back to the eventual Gold medalist. Michael bought him a beer the last day of the games at the Irish bar and told him he was 'robbed'!

Day 2. August 15th, we purchased tickets to ladies Waterpolo. Once again, Australia was playing, It was our 1st time to a Waterpolo game. We spent the whole match trying to work out just how they do it! Aussies won and eventually won the bronze medal.

Day 3. On the 16th of August we went to the Woman's weightlifting. It was one of the tickets we were approved in the 1st ballot. It turned out to be an amazing event. We witnessed Three World Records in the one night. The Korean girl smashed the record, exciting the crowd including her father and her cheering squad - who were sitting the row in front of us. We were no doubt seen cheering her on...on Korean TV. Initially, we thought it was SBS Australia, but it was SBS Korea.

Day 4, 17th August. We bought tickets from Cosport for track cycling. We invited two English lads we met at the weightlifting as we'd four tickets. As it happens, GB won gold and silver that night. We also enjoyed a relaxing afternoon at the Temple of Heaven (see Beijing, China Entry).

Day 5, 18th August. Mens Handball was the order of the day. No Irish nor Australian teams - but an interesting sport to watch!

Day 6. It just so happened to be my (Michael's) birthday. We saw Australia in the womans basketball, which they won to progress to the semi finals. Later that night, the we went to the mens hockey, were Australia played GB.  Teams tied at full time so, Australia was through to the finals and Great Britain was out. A good birthday overall!

Day 7. August 20th, Grechy decided to go to the beach volleyball as a birthday present to himself, not everyday you turn 31. Two brilliant mens semi final games on one of the hottest days in Beijing during the Olympics. That evening we went to the Athletics. We thought we would see Eileen O'Keeffe, the Irish Hammer thrower competing in the final - but she never made it through the heats. The Chinese 110m hurdle champion (a celebrity in China) was also due to run that night, but because of an injury, he also also did not qualify. A good night in all though. We saw Bolt win the 200m final in record time. Boy can he run!

Day 8. 21st of August. Mens hockey semi final - Netherlands vs Germany and Australia vs Spain (or span as the Chinese were calling them). It poured rain all night. Something you would never see at Park or the MCG , they gave out ponchos to the whole crowd. We were poured on, but the ponchos saved us. There was all round when both the Dutch lost and Aussies lost. Both were favorites.


Day 9. 22nd August. Mens waterpolo: Australia was playing off in classification. Didn't think I would enjoy mens waterpolo but i must say, it's really enjoyable. Australia played Italy, the game was equal at full time and then went to penalties, similar to football penalty shoot out but in the water. Aussies won.

Day 10. 23rd August. Woman's Basketball final There was a great atmosphere. It was Australia vs the USA. Australia did not preform, USA played well and deserved the Gold. We stayed behind after the game and watched the players unite with their husbands and families after the match. Nice to see the bits you don't see when you watch these events on telly.

Day 11. 24th August. The last day of the Olympics. Our accommodation was walking distance from the workers stadium so went down to the boxing to try get tickets, but to no avail. We missed out on seeing Kenny Egan win Silver, but we got see meet and touch the silver that night when we bumped into him in the Irish pub.

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