Saturday, August 23, 2008

China loves Shawn; hates my knees

CCTV is the government run tv network here - they have about 11-12 different channels (one is in English and the morning anchor is straight out of 'Anchorman'). So CCTV 3 has a nightly show where a guy interviews Olympic athletes on stage with an audience - sort of like China's version of Bob Costas, except taller.

I catch snippets of this show all the time and I've never seen an American - or really, anyone that's not chinese on it and last night I caught the highlight reel that they did for the conclusion of the games and AWWW!!! Shawn Johnson is the one and only American and non-Chinese athlete that was on the show! I'm sure it had a lot to do with her coach being from Beijing but China just loves Shawn Johnson.

The CCTV sports channels do nightly montages of the days greatest moments and it's usually the gold medal winning Chinese (lord knows they've had plenty to feature). When Nastia won I think I saw maybe one of two clips of her but when Shawn won her beam medal, she was prominently featured. I'm sure blonde hair and megawatt smile doesn't hurt.

For me the biggest gymnastics star of the games has been Nastia Liukin, but I think that Shawn Johnson has been just as big - it's hard to judge sitting in the middle of it. I'm really curious to see what the response has been and who's gotten more air time. ... I still can't look at the pics of Nastia on the podium without getting a little teary. By far my favorite Olympic moment.

I thought that America had a lot of repetitive commercials but it's nothing compared to the commercials on CCTV. I think I've seen a total of 5 different commercials since being here. Tsingtao beer, Haeir air conditioners and refrigerators, China Mobile (most annoying song ever), Adidas (creepy commercial where the chinese people first lift their sports stars on their sidewalk of hands and then bow down to him), an ad for Korea called "Sparkling Korea" ... I think there's one other one but I have no idea what the product is. I just know the theme music drives me nuts. Can't wait to get home and have the luxury of at least TEN different commercials in rotation! Whhhheeeee!!!

Jamaica is a very fast country.

Went to the rhythmic finals last night for the all-around and I ended up sitting with a former Chinese rhythmic gymnast who is the Chief Liason Officer for gymnastics here at the games (have no idea what that is but the title is impressive... might have to put that on my business cards). She was sitting right in front of me and turned around at some point, saw my name tag with my NBC card and asked me if I worked in tv. I told her that I was there writing a little thing on rhythmic and how I was trying to understand it (which, should be writing right now) and she immediately got up and said, 'Oh! I will teach you everything!' and she proceeded to give me an rg lesson!

She wasn't much help in my political/gossip questions like why does russia hate the ukraine so much and what's up with the crazy russian coach, but she did have really helpful info like how much is taken off in deductions for turns and ribbon drops, etc. So, ya know, helpful but I want the dirt!!!

A couple of Russians were sitting behind me and it took every ounce of my strength not to turn around and steal their jacket. I'm very proud of myself for holding back my urge to be a thief.

My knees totally hate China. The shuttle buses here are not tall people friendly. Everytime I ride them, I'm uncomfortable and my legs hurt when I walk out - I knwe it was crunched but never really gave it much thought. Well, last night I was wearing a skirt which made my life more difficult on the bus - I looked down at the seat and thought, hmmm, I wonder how much leg room there really is. I put my arm down thinking for sure my hand to elbow would fit ..... umm... I put the heel of my palm to the seat and my finger tips crunched up against the chair in front of me!! There's not even 6 inches of leg room.


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