Chinese hard to track down memories in London Games

Updated: 2012-07-24 10:11:55


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ROMFORD, London - The Chinese would probably recall their memories of the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games when they come to London for the upcoming 2012 Games. Most of them will be disappointed.

Only four days towards the start of the London Games, the atmosphere here is so different from that of Beijing 2008 that people who had experienced both Games might wonder if it is the same event that is held by different cities every four years.

It is not easy to find many traces of the Olympic Games around the corners of the city of London, except some banners and flags which are more as decorations than as demonstrations.

Four years ago in Beijing, the Olympics became a hot topic for both local media and citizens months prior to the event as Olympics-related stuff filled up every building and street in the Chinese capital.

And tons of thousands of local communities voluntarily gave their help to visitors and Olympians when almost every Chinese city showed its own way to support the host city.

While in London here, the lives of ordinary people are seldom obsessed by the biggest sports gala in the world.

A Chinese website opened on Monday its Olympic headquarter at Romford, dozens of miles northeast of London, a beautiful countryside where Olympic flavor could hardly be tasted.

There is no banner, no paper stories and even a journalist with a credential around his neck could drive some curious glaring of the locals.

"We feel no Olympic atmosphere here in Romford. It's a quite and beautiful place, but no Olympics," said a journalist of the, who arrived Romford on Friday.

Around 1,000 Chinese reporters are expected to cover the 2012 Olympics, including the 500-plus squad from the Chinese Central Television (CCTV).  Most of them arrived in London one week before the start of the Games or even earlier.

They found themselves quite lonely at the Main Press Center and at the International Broadcast Center on the first few days after arrival as most of their neighbor offices were closed.

"All we can do now is to get acquainted with the facilities and stadiums around here. There are seldom news about the Olympics," said a CCTV basketball reporter.

British media put some Olympic news on the headlines, but their fancy about the Olympics is in a quite reasonable way, compared to the frenzy of Beijing in 2008.

The London people could easily avoid life with the Olympics if they don't get around the Olympic Park or the arenas. It was almost impossible in Beijing four yeas ago as hours of television programs were Olympics-related every day and newspapers were dominated by Olympic stories.

People also enjoyed free drinks, even free food, at the arenas and volunteers' help everywhere in Beijing. But in London, it is not easy to find a volunteer in the underground system or railway stations, at least for now.

A shrinking economy in the euro zone hit Britain hard and the 9.3-billion-pounds ($14.4 billion) budget was almost four times the estimated cost at the time London bade in 2005.

Four arenas' building projects were cut off and even the constructions of the main stadium and the main press center were hindered due to the lack of financial supports.

The London Olympic organizers had never expected to surpass any previous versions of the Games. All they want is to make a good and sound competition.

Jacques Rogge, the International Olympic Committee president, said he was optimistic the London Games would be a success and was satisfied with security measures and other preparations during an IOC executive board meeting on Saturday.

There is only four days to go for London to take the first test in front of the world at the opening ceremony, and they are willing to produce new memories.

Medal Count

1 46 29 29
2 38 27 22
3 29 17 19
4 24 25 33
5 13 8 7
6 11 19 14

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