The Games, are a beautiful thing. The audience cheered for a forceful US strike on the beach sand transported from Hainan, for the Slovenian who won the first-ever track-and-field gold for his country, and for the Russian woman who broke the world-record in 5000-meter steeplechase.
The jumpers led the crowd to clap for him before he set off. The audience ahh'ed when he failed.
Then there's the Irish lady who fell into the water in the steeplechase. The crowd cheered her on, as loudly as for the Jamaicans after they swept women's 100-meter dash.
The young did the wave they had just learned and clapped until their hands sore. The middle-aged laughed. The old guy sitting next to me, with his white hair under a white humble hat, kept perfectly still and straight for a good hour. Then, melting into the crowd, he smiled gently and mouthed a 加油 (Go! Go!).
My eyes went moist. The Games bring the best out of people. Perhaps the Chinese still don't know how to cheer like a sophisticated Western crowd (How to do the wave again? And can they learn some new way to cheer other than waving the little flags and yelling 加油?). Perhaps the government is bent on all kinds of schemes--dirty or not--to put on a perfect show. Perhaps some citizens have pursued nationalism to the point of xenophobia. But the China I saw at the Games--the old reluctant to show their emotions and the young screaming their hearts out--by so eagerly learning to embrace the Olympic spirit, is already part of the spirit.