Asian Slant on the Vancouver Olympics

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Well here I am just a 2 hour drive from the Vancouver 2010 winter olympics with no plans and not heard of anybody who’s going up there to see it, but it comes in fine on NBC HD on my cable, even if they’re not carrying the Canadian channel we had in 2008. There were no news reports of people wandering the streets of the OTHER Vancouver Washington at the other side of Washington state. The Beijing 2008 opening was hard to top, but I was pretty impressed with the use of cameras to transform the entire floor, and fabric going to the ceiling into a display canvas, even creating the illusion of orcas swimming across the floor. While they didn’t have the entire People’s Liberation Army as performers, they also made pretty good use of performers hanging from wires without any practice accidents. For Canada’s relatively small population, China doesn’t have even one perfomer on the level of any of the Canadians who performed, even without Celine Dion. Who is the Chinese KD Lang anyways?

Canada obviously tried to show politically correct diversity (for a nation even more PC than the Americans) with correct “first nation” peoples (contrasted to the “fake” minorities of Beijing), prairies, skiiers, celitc dancing and fiddlers. But the one group that nearly owns Vancouver was conspicuously absent, the Chinese, not to mention the other odd groups such as Muslims, Sikhs and Hindus so much more prevalent in Canada than in the states.

Seattle local hero Apolo Ohno (whose Japanese-born father is named Yuki) became USA’s most decorated male Winter Olympian with six career medals. South Korea, led by Lee Jung-Su was about to snag all 3 medals when two of them crashed, leaving Ohno and teammate J.R. Celski to get the silver and bronze medals. Celski had recovered from slashing his leg with a skating blade. His mother Sue is of Filipino descent, and he grew up with Ohno in Federal Way (which boasts a strong Korean and Asian community), between Tacoma and Seattle.

There was also a fairy tale ending for the Chinese husband and wife team of Shen Xue and Zhao Hongbo, who had been skating if I remember since something like the ages of 13 and 18, finally marrying only a few years ago. Considered by many to be the best skating couple in the world, they were the oldest competitors but came back to get the gold medal that had eluded them in three previous Olympics. The finally got their gold, becoming the first figure skaters from China to win gold, with teammates Pang Qing and Tong Jian taking silver. They broke a winning streak of Russians or Soviets since 1964, and have added to the increased visibility of Asians and Asian Americans in the sport of skating since the 1980s, and China emerging more fully as a world class power in more ways than just military and manufacturing muscle.

About the Author

MIT electrical engineering computer science graduate has written conservative columns on politics, race / culture, science and education since the 70s in MIT The Tech and various publications in including New Republic and National Review.