Countdown: 6 days until the Olympics. I've been a fan since the 1972 Winter Games in Sapporo Japan. My parents woke me up in the middle of the night so I could watch the women's figure skating finals. I still remember Janet Lynn skating. (Photo credit: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Janet_Lynn).
The 1980 Winter Games in Lake Placid, NY (Scott Hamilton, Tai & Randy, downhill skiing), and the 1984 Summer Games in LA (gymnastics, swimming, in America!!!, Carl Lewis, the Evil Empire boycott) are tied as my favorite. 2002 Salt Lake games will always be special because we lived in Utah at the time, and we got to go to three events: Austria vs. Latvia men's hockey, curling, and the Men's figure skating final -- that was amazing, even though we were in the top balcony, 3rd row from the top and could really only watch via jumbotron. Sarajevo 1984 holds bittersweet memories - the Games were great, but the country crumbled afterwards. I watched the 1992 Winter Games in Albertville, France from a reclined position following my ACL replacement. I don't think I missed a minute; good timing! Clearly, I'm an Olympics nut.
So here comes Beijing on 8/8/08 (that was smart marketing guys). China has a horrible human rights record. The head of their "FDA" was executed after a series of food and drug safety scandals: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/07/09/AR2007070900689_pf.html. Read more about China's execution policy here: http://news.sky.com/skynews/Home/Sky-News-Archive/Article/20082851236184. Amnesty International even charges China with tying execution policy to organ harvesting: http://www.usatoday.com/news/world/2006-06-14-death-van_x.htm. Forced abortion is still taking place: http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=9766870. Religion is "allowed", as long as one worships in a State-approved facility and manner. Voice of the Martyrs often has documented reports of persecution: http://www.persecution.com/.
While not on the par with their human rights record, China is in the process of damming up the beautiful Yangtze river (anyone remember "The Story About Ping"? Yep - that river. (photo credit: http://search.barnesandnoble.com/booksearch/isbnInquiry.asp?r=1&ISBN=9780670672233&ourl=The%2DStory%2DAbout%2DPing%2FMarjorie%2DFlack) Villages and towns have been flooded, ruining livlihoods and homes, affecting millions of people. Read more: http://www.internationalrivers.org/en/china/three-gorges-dam.
And does anyone AT ALL remember Tienamen Square?
(Photo credit: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tiananmen_Square_protests_of_1989)
The New And Improved China unveils itself to the World: documentaries "From the Inside" on PBS and NatGeo channels. "We've changed!" "We love the West!" ("WE LOVE YOUR MONEY".)
I love the Olympics, and I'll watch...with one eye closed hating to admit that I'm watching them and loving them, and sharing the experience with my girls, because this will probably be Ingrid's first memory of the Olympics, and feeling horribly guilty for supporting them...and still loving them. Hopefully remembering that there are people who can't watch them from inside their prison cells because they spoke out about the horror of Tienamen Square and were bold enough to proclaim their love for Christ outside of the parameters of a State-approved venue.