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jiejie last won the day on February 21 2020

jiejie had the most liked content!

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  1. Wanted to offer this up, it's worth a listen as it features 2014 Sochi competitor (for the USA) Polina Edmunds and her thoughts on the debacle. She has some interesting direct observations about the Russians, training methods, etc. Polina, though born and raised in Silicon Valley area, is half-Russian herself (mother) and is well versed in the culture and language. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mub-YXONxyo "The Skating Lesson" channel is hosted by Dave Lease and Jonathan Beyer, two long-time skating fans that are viewed as quasi-journalists by most everyone who follows skating. They cop a lot of flak for various reasons, and some of their interviews provoke quite a few negative reactions. I don't regularly follow them, but this is one session worth watching.
  2. IOC has a lot more than a PR problem, they have no grip on reality. I'm in agreement with you on the need for a leadership change at the IOC, probably a ton of the current members need to go as well if the organization is to hope for long-term survival. But the issues go way beyond development of a grassroots PR program. The fundamental problem is that the Olympics are simply not in sync with the new realities of the 21st century. Put bluntly, fewer and fewer people in the developed world even give a d@mn about the Olympics. It's simply irrelevant to the majority of taxpayers, who correctly wish to prioritize funding of needs more critical to their quality of life vs a big sports festival that requires specialty infrastructure and ruinous security costs. Outside of the autocrat-led countries, most of the population doesn't need the Olympics to fuel national pride or self-esteem. In short, I think the Olympics will slide further into irrelevancy unless the IOC can get a handle on costs, or (as you point out) they are willing to have Russia and China keep trading off every 4 years. And IMO, the only way to get a real handle on costs, is to scale the whole thing down and particularly the Summer Games. They have become too big, too bloated. Get rid of entire sports and trim down some of the rest. Cut the number of athletes down by one-third--from the 11,000+ (Tokyo 2020) to about 7,500.
  3. I don't think Beijing will back down, and the IOC has no aces up its sleeve at this point. IMO, it's inevitable that some athletes who have more recently acquired COVID infections, will either continue to have a positive PCR at the time they are supposed to depart for Beijing....or they will fail the PCR screening upon arrival. Think about this--it well suits the Chinese to have as many foreign athletes as possible get bounced. While the affected countries might kick and scream, there really aren't any meaningful repercussions to the Chinese Olympic Committee nor the government, in foreign relations terms. But there are a lot of domestic points to be scored by refusing entry/participation to infected foreign athletes/coaches/delegation members/etc. I do think there is one foreign federation whose athletes will be safe from potential banishment, and will either get exempted from rigorous PCR testing or will have positive tests "disappear" before official recording.
  4. One question I haven't yet seen addressed: Is there going to be the normal march in of all the athletes? Because that's what takes all the time even with the reduced complement of Winter Games participants vs. Summer. Or are the Chinese going to limit the larger delegations (well, maybe not their own) to a few athlete representatives, in the interests of time and anti-COVID efforts?
  5. China has announced that there will be no general public spectator ticketing for the Games. Instead, they (presumably their Olympic Committee and company sponsors) will distribute limited tickets--likely to employees and affiliated groups. This is what I expected, particularly when by end of Nov/early Dec, there was no public ticketing plan in motion. So, it seems that 2022 Games will be a largely television event, even in Beijing. It promises to be a weird atmosphere and even less welcoming than in 2008.
  6. Forgot to add to above on video: Kentaro Iwata is a very respected infection control specialist and professor at Kobe University. You can look up his bona fides yourself, if interested.
  7. Don't want to be a Debbie Downer, but if you were planning to attend the Tokyo Olympics, you need to diligently follow what's going on with this coronavirus. The Japanese government is simply putting face-saving and bureaucratic process ahead of public health. Failure to close borders to Chinese early, misguided testing, and now the Diamond Princess debacle. If you have not seen this video yet, you should....not so much for the situation on the cruise ship....but for the governmental mindset. Given the number of new cases in Japan that have nothing to do with the Diamond Princess cruise ship nor with direct linkages to China, it's pretty clear that secondary and further transmission is going on in the community, and seems to be accelerating. In a densely-packed country like Japan, and with 25% of the population over 65, this is not a good thing. I predict that in about 3-4 weeks time, China might be a safer place to be (except Hubei) than Japan. Draconian lockdowns and quarantines do work, even at great economic and personal liberty cost. If you were going to the Games but haven't yet made flight/accommodation arrangements, you might want to hold off for awhile and see how this thing goes. I lived through SARS, and this in many ways is much worse and certainly promises to be more disruptive for a longer period of time. By the way, I wouldn't put a lot of stock in the theory that this virus may disappear with warmer weather. Singapore is warm all year, and they are currrently having to put up a mightly battle to try to stop the community transmission that is now occurring there.
  8. Photos of the train station and train interiors in this link (use Chrome and Google translate function): https://news.sina.cn/gn/2019-12-30/detail-iihnzahk0854046.d.html
  9. Hallelujah. This train has been needed for years, with or without the Olympics. The speed the new train is currently running at for Beijing North - Zhangjiakou is 1 hour to 1 hour 15 minutes though it can be run faster. Ticket cost is Business Class (the highest) RMB 266, 1st Class RMB 142, 2nd Class RMB 88. You can do the exchange math to your favorite currency, but it's pretty reasonable given the distances (and alternatives).
  10. Well, the fundamental premise of my post is that what is happening in China politically now, WILL impact the 2022 Olympics in some way, beyond just getting the new facilities and the infrastructure built. Regardless of what any of us on an internet board writes, or any moderators accept/don't accept....regardless of what the IOC or anybody else thinks--this China train is now rolling down a track to a place that is potentially darker than we dared think several years ago.
  11. Not sure where to put this post, but here it is. I don't know if any of you have been following the political news from China, but one of the most important items of international news may be forthcoming. The National Party Congress that's just started is about to dismantle the presidential term limits that were put into China's constitution after the nightmare of the Mao era ended, specifically to combat the dictatorship syndrome. Since that time, China's political leadership changes every 10 years and was vested in a consensus-making group. Not a free system to be sure, but with its own version of internal checks and balances so no one person could run away with all the power. That is about to change--the current president, Xi Jinping, has requested (demanded) that term limits be abolished and that he become "President for Life." He has spent the last 5 years ruthlessly dispensing with enemies and amassing power in a way not seen for a long time in China. He has tried--with incomplete success but still in progress--to develop a cult of personality a la Mao. While the "vote" hasn't yet been taken, barring something completely unforeseen, it will happen since few are left who will challenge him. This will set him up to be a defacto dictator hearkening back to the Mao days, or equally accurately, the Stalin days. Why does this matter? Well, it has profound effects on the general international stage both politically and economically, things that will affect most countries in the world in some form or fashion. I first lived in China (although not that long) in the post-Mao Deng Xiaoping era, where China was poor, backwards, ignorant, but hopeful that things would get better. Tiananmen Square 1989 put a huge hiccup in that for awhile. Then returned to China during the Jiang Zemin era--probably the "golden age" when things were noticeably less repressive, economy like gangbusters, lots of risen expectations politically as well (most of which didn't happen), but generally very positive. This is the period where China was awarded the 2008 Games. Then on to the Hu Jintao era, where a more conservative leadership rolled back some of the progress and increased certain aspects of social control, but still not too bad. Then the Xi Jinping era started, though mild at the beginning there were definite signs that things were going to get bad, and they have. (I left full time residency in China at this time, partly because of this). Anti-foreigner mentality, social and political repression, outside internet access, etc all have become much worse. Xi is a seriously nasty character even by Chinese standards, possibly even by Putin standards... and about to get full license to get even nastier. As often-opined on this website, the IOC got stuck with two flawed choices for 2022 WOG selection, and made what at the time seemed like the least-bad of the two. I'm sure the venue production, logistics, etc will be taken care of in the normally successful Chinese way, but whether this will be the sort of games that anybody outside China will want to attend....I don't know. As with 2008 and the extreme security and control measures put into place for that entire summer, I wouldn't expect much "Olympic spirit," atmosphere, joie-de-vivre, whatever during the Games. But before that, I would expect China to experience increasing unrest of the sort that could make international headlines. China is a big place with lots of people, and not all of them are on board with Xi as a person, as a leader, nor with the idea of going back to a dictatorship or Emperor mentality. Xi Jinping has a disadvantage that Mao didn't have: having to deal with modern technology and communications and the peoples' ability to do an end run around state apparatus. Even in China, control is not complete and state efforts leak like a sieve. Hang on, this could be a bumpy next few years.
  12. Yes, they are marketing the entire Zhangjiakou area within China to domestic Chinese visitors and to expat groups also, who don't want to deal with the extreme cold (and distance) of going up to the Harbin area. My church is getting a group together to go up to Chongli in a couple of weeks for a 3-day trip. Skiing and snowboarding are in growth mode in China. The bullet train will really fill a need beyond a two-week sporting event. While a lot of outsiders think that this is one of those made-for-Olympics infrastructure deals, the truth is that there has been a huge need for a bullet connection between Beijing and Zhangjiakou for the last 10 years. It's an extreme annoyance getting to ZJK by !@#$% slow train or backed-up road traffic, and a bottleneck if heading to Inner Mongolia. Zhangjiakou might be known now as one of the Olympic hosting sites, but that's kind of incidental. It's a major industrial city and military town: a big part of the People's Liberation Army protecting Beijing is based there. The only parts of the 2022 Infrastructure that I think are likely white elephants are the sliding venues. But I guess that's been a problem for Winter Olympic hosts the world over. The main worry I'd have about the actual Olympic period is lack of plentiful natural snow. I'm sure the Chinese gov't has a tiger team working on how to influence the heavens though.
  13. Yes, almost certainly. Even with just the current pre-Olympic facilities in the area, it's being heavily marketed in Southeast Asia. Lots of Singaporeans and Malaysians have been coming up to learn basic skiing and see snow (natural or man-made). And they can combine with normal tourist stuff in the Beijing area. It's orders of magnitude cheaper than going to Japan or Europe or North America to do winter sports. There may be some follow-on opportunities for foreign ski instructors who have a lot of patience with beginning skiers.
  14. NBC has been a bunch of overpaying-suckers for some time, and that's on them. With so many alternate uses for discretionary time, US society in general--and under-40's in particular--just aren't into watching sports competitions that much anymore, beyond perhaps their favorite pro or college major sports (US football, baseball, basketball) team. My wild @ss estimates: out of 300,000,000 population, maybe 5,000,000 have significant to passionate interest in the Olympic Games across all sports, another 20,000,000 have considerable interest but only in one or a small number of sports and maybe the Ceremonies, and another 35,000,000 are happy to watch if it's interesting and convenient. The rest are either children, comatose, disinterested, or irritated that their normal prime-time and daytime programming has been disrupted. If you frame the equation as not having 300,000,000 "potential pairs of eyeballs" but instead having a country of more like 60,000,000 (5 + 20 + 35 MM) pairs of eyeballs, I think you consider the financials in an entirely different light. The lack of "conversion" of the younger adult demographic is particularly troubling to the networks and I'm not sure that "more and better technology to reach them" is any sort of magic bullet. I am sure that the NBC fossils executives that put together the broadcast coverage need to be retired/replaced. The executives can take some of their commentators out to pasture with them--start with Trautwig. Definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result. Rio's worse-than-expected ratings wasn't so much an aberration, but a more extreme result of a negative trend that's been going on with Olympics for a long time. However, I wouldn't put the entire burden on NBC and its own failings; a lot of this is societal shift and that may not be reversable under any combination of content + technology. The interest of American society in the Olympics may have peaked some time ago. I do think the Olympic Games as currently presented by the IOC is also part of the problem but that's a different topic thread.
  15. Can't edit my post, but forgot to quote from the article this oddity "... Kyrgyzstan's under 69kg bronze medallist Izzat Artykov the first athlete in any sport stripped of an Olympic medal at Rio 2016 for doping after a positive test for strychnine..." Surely this is a typo. I should think if he had any amount of strychnine in him, being stripped of a medal would be the least of his worries!
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