I have really enjoyed watching the Olympics this summer. The opening ceremony was spectacular, world records are being
broken almost every day, and Michael Phelps has just been a phenom in the pool – which is great.
However, I can’t help but feeling that there is something of a taint over the games this time around. Amid accusations of doping it is hard enough to enjoy sports that have lost some levels of legitimacy (at least I am confident that Phelps is not doping…), yet China has been cheating the Olympics in another way – repeatedly.
So what has China been up to? It has been clear all along that the government was intent on showing the world the power of the Chinese people by doing everything from dominating the medal count to controlling the weather – everything in its power to put on a good show.
It actually surprised me that the first instance of fakery broke in the news so quickly after it happened. During the opening ceremony there was one time where giant footprint fireworks ‘walked’ across the Beijing sky from the Forbidden City to the new Olympic stadium. As it turns out, China faked the fireworks with computer generated images. The Chinese say that this was done because it would be unsafe to film the fireworks from a helicopter anyway. Great. I actually didn’t even see them in the tv broadcast I was watching, but regardless it is dishonest to show something computer generated to spectators thinking it is real.
What else have they done? How about a faked building. Why not?
The most unsettling of accusations has just recently arisen after the Chinese Female Gymnasts beat the American team quite substantially. China has apparently decided that it is OK to fake the ages of its female athletes. Over at the blog Stryde Hax a “hacker” demonstrated the use of search engines to figure out that at least one Chinese gold Olympiad is indeed 14 years of age, instead of the required 16. I find this amusing as he really did nothing aside from making good use of search engines. You have to be careful about these things now a days!
So in summary, China has cheated the viewers around the world, the athletes, and the ordinary Beijing population. No surprise.