Friday, August 29, 2008

Baseball Cliffhanger Part Two


Before getting into the tales of Phelps, monsoon beach volleyball, the Olympic torch auction and seeing the closing ceremony for free (coming soon), first some unfinished business: resolution of the "baseball cliffhanger" post of last week.

As noted on previous entry, my colleague Paul and I were able to attend the Canada versus China baseball game early during the Olympic adventure. During the sixth inning or so, Canada was up 5-0 and we were thinking of heading back to the B.C. Canada Pavilion, so I offered my Flip Camera to Paul so he could shoot a quick flick for his kids back in Vancouver.

Paul started filming behind first base, when we heard the crack of the back (slightly audible on the video). I started hollering that the fly foul was heading our way, and uncanny luck dropped the ball two seats to Paul's left (the ball is also visible in the air for a split second of the video).

That Beijing Olympic logo-clad baseball bounced across Paul's lap and INTO MY EDELMAN COMPUTER BAG!!!

I screamed "WE GOT IT!" because I really thought we got it.

But we did not get it.

Withing milliseconds of the ball's freak arrival in by bag, dozens of Chinese baseball fans in our section dove over, under, across and into my seat! The video does not reveal the panic we all faced trying to retrieve the baseball. Dozens of arms and hands and fingers were all over that bag with a lot of Chinese people yelling and Paul and my frustration voiced as well.

In hindsight, the scene of Danny DeVito in "Romancing the Stone" (reflecting on having 'the stone' in his grasp for a few seconds) comes to mind when reflecting on the incident.

Paul and I were denied the keepsake baseball. One of our neighboring seatmates snatched it. I felt lucky that my laptop, Ziplock-bag-o-pins, and other valuables from inside the laptop case did not get snatched as well! The jumbotron displayed the new owner screaming and jumping, with Paul and I frowning in disbelief, only unable to repeat our pleas "Canada! Canada!" (I guess we thought they would feel sorry for us and give it back as visitors in their midst.)

We begged, attempted bribes of pins and cash -- a LOT of cash -- and I think even an offer of another coveted Olympic event ticket, all in vain to get the baseball back in our hands, to no avail. Fortunately the guy who grabbed it did reluctantly agree to let us pose for photos and another video with the ball.

Paul summed up the situation later in the day in response to my comparing the moment to the Cubs baseball game scene with a pop fly foul into the stands.

"That baseball coming to us was just like 'Ferris Beuller's Day Off,'" I said.

"No it wasn't, Nick ... because they freakin' caught it [in the movie]!" said Paul.

So, somewhere in China, there is a trophy case or mantle display with "the ball" that was wrestled from our possession. And I expect there is a blog entry -- in Chinese -- for its new owner somewhere out there. And all the Olympic pins in the world could not be traded for it.

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Beijing Blogging Blues

Oh, man. Blogging at the Olympics is tough business.

First there are work duties, which were vast (in addition to the B.C. Canada Pavilion's second week at the Games, assignments came in from one other client pavilion as well as another client who arrived for the Closing Ceremony weekend).

Then off-the-clock there are ticketed events, unexpected opportunities, spontaneous pin trades, transportation timing and challenges, new and old friend visits and other 'distractions' with which to contend. By the time you're back at home for the night, it's time to crash and gear up for the next day's adventures (sadly, blogging is not on the brain, though there are countless stories perfect for sharing).

Excuses aside: I'm now back from Beijing, following a 23-hour commute that included four-airports/flights, four overweight suitcases ($130 fees to transport hundreds of pounds of Olympic loot), and some of the worst airline food available (the prize goes to the Tokyo McDonald's so-called bacon cheeseburger, though they do deserve props for accepting the last of my China yuan AND a few U.S. dollars as payment).

It's Friday morning and my rear end is planted at my favorite Milwaukee Hotel (the historic Ambassador Hotel near downtown and Marquette University) and their awesome Deco Caffe. I have a six-pack of 10 oz. Coca-Cola bottles and plenty of wireless and laptop battery, so the blogging about Beijing resumes now. Sorry to leave everyone for my last week in China -- the 2008 Olympics will be very tough to top, and the next few entries/topics will explain exactly why.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Baseball Cliffhanger

Take a look at this Flip Camera video snapped at Sunday's China versus Canada baseball game. My Vancouver colleague Paul was holding the camera and filming a shot for his sons when a surprise occured. I'll post the resolution of "what happened" tomorrow after the Beach Volleyball gold medal women's game.
video

Peachy!




At the Beijing International Media Center (BIMC -- nicknamed "B.M., I see" due to it's remote location in the city) we spotted a most curious and random site. Feast your eyes on China Peach Farmer's answer to Georgia and the U.S. South's claims to anything peachy!

Admittedly, this box presentation impressed me greatly and the photo does not do it justice. Every peach in that display was specially grown in a contraption that shapes the peach fuzz to grow in patterns that reveal Mandarin symbols or Olympic pictograms.

There are also specially-grown gourds in the shape of soccer balls and even Buddhas! But not at the peach farms highlighted in this display.

Spotlight on B.C.












The first few days of the Games kept our B.C. Canada Pavilion team on the run for all the right reasons.

During sunset on Saturday, August 9, the Premier of British Columbia Gordon Campbell hosted Beijing city representatives and other VIP guests and officials to officially present the pavilion's Canadian hardwood archway entrance as a gift to the 2008 Olympic host city. Our Beijing Edelman team focused on getting Chinese media attendees to the event, while my Vancouver-based colleague and China roommate Paul and I tackled U.S., Canadian and other international media invitations. We also updated content for the B.C. Canada Pavilion website for this and other festivities at the Province's Beijing address. The photos tell the tale of secured media on site.

Our public relations activities also included outreach to large outlets in several nations. Though a high level executive friend of the Premier opened the big doors to create a TODAY Show segment, our team worked closely with the Premier's office and show producers to prepare for a live broadcast beamed back to North America from the Olympic Green. It was very satisfying to leave the TODAY Show green room with a few of NBC's coveted Olympic pins in tow, and it is always a great thrill to stand behind the camera operators and producers on the set with the live audience over the shoulders of Matt and Meredith.

Prepping for live or taped interviews involves getting background materials to reporters, editors or producers (to help them prepare smart questions) and to the spokesperson (in this case the Premier ... to help him prepare accurate and timely answers). We also arrange delivery of b-roll video. In Beijing, some of the most basic steps (like copying and pasting information into an e-mail, or getting a video tape across town) seem to take at least three times as long as usual. And don't forget: You must have your triple-stamped approval and paperwork to accompany EVERYTHING (this is my simple way of summarizing unbelievable, unexpected bureaucracy that accompanies most working hours -- but it's worth it all when you turn on CNBC and find your client interview went well).

For August 12, the team was all hands on deck at the Beijing International Media Center (BIMC), a haven for more than 10,000 reporters who could not get the official Olympic media accreditation for various reasons. It was hard work, but more than 25 TV cameras rolled -- including Chicago's NBC affiliate (look for their clip here, with the headline "Premier offers advice, eh?") and I don't know how many Chinese TV stations -- when the Premier took the stage to announce the International Media Center plan for the 2010 Winter Olympic Games.

Perhaps the most interesting and satisfying media pitch thus far came to us by great timing. While enduring Beijing's summer heat just before our BIMC press event, I was waiting by security to greet our Chicago TV guests. A couple of young South American reporters with radio microphones passed through security, and after an impromptu pin trade negotiation, we also negotiated a live radio interview for the Premier to appear on W Radio, which is based in Colombia and airs across the Western Hemisphere. We were able to tune in live and listen to this phone interview, which involved a radio host (dare I say/write Latin America's answer to Bob Edwards) in Colombia, the Premier in Beijing, and other radio correspondents asking questions to the Premier from New York, Miami and Europe. !Que Bueno!


Oh, Donna





Backtracking now to August 7, the eve of Beijing's spectacular Opening Ceremonies. B.C. Canada Pavilion played host to the first of many Olympians who crossed under the Canadian hardwood arches.

The event du jour involved international organizations Sport for Development and Peace International Working Group (SDP IWG) and Right To Play, on site to announce a new report titled "Harnessing the Power of Sport for Development and Peace: Recommendations to Governments." I've not had time to dive into this report, but it sounds very interesting and is available for review.

It seemed that at almost every turn that evening there was an Olympic great with whom to speak.

Right To Play's President and CEO Johann Olav Koss (four time gold medal speed skater) was among the evening's presenters, sharing the stage and press conference with U.N. representatives and sports officials from several continents.

Then 1960 Olympic Champion and former ABC Olympic commentator, Donna de Varona, walked in to show her support and meet with other officials. Donna was keen to talk about Right To Play, and to introduce our team to her family, including her husband, John Pinto (who said to say 'hello' to one of my fellow Edelman bloggers), and their daughter, Joanna, an aspiring filmmaker whose first project involves Right To Play (more on her film to follow in a future blog entry).

We also got introduced to the attending International Olympic Committee members, including Sir Philip Craven, president of the International Paralympic Committee (an pro-bono Edelman Sports client).

The event -- and hearing the personal stories of the Olympians first-hand -- was an inspiring evening and prelude to the Games.

Beijing Blog Bust

A awful lot has been going on in Beijing ... except blogging! We got caught up with some key media events for the Premier of British Columbia, then a few big event tickets dropped in our laps. Lots of updates to follow -- thanks to those who have posted messages, questions or encouragement.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

That Is So Sochi!




As noted in previous Sunday Gymnastics post, that day was on track to become "best day ever" by noon. The later hours of the day proved to be fantastic!

On the way back to the B.C. Canada Pavilion from the Olympic Green, the skies opened up on Beijing. Big, fat rain! This was a welcome relief from the heat. But the torrential downpour filled the metro station by the pavilion with three inches of standing water in the entryway, where a nice local lady sold me an umbrella that survived for about an hour (made in Taiwan?).

My Edelman colleagues Lorraine and Andrew stopped by for a visit to the pavilion just before many of our Canada colleagues and I embarked for a drenched evening at The Russia House, a spectacular party pavilion that spans several blocks of lakeside property and hutongs.

Sunday night's Russia House party theme was a Vancouver 2010/Sochi 2014 celebration, toasting the 2010 Winter Games and the recently confirmed 2014 Winter Olympic site, Sochi, Russia, which is on the banks of the Black Sea (coincidence they rented a lakeside space here, perhaps).

Oh, man! What an amazing event!

At every turn there was a VIVIP! Jean Claude Killy (yes, that Jean Claude Killy), Vitaly Smirnov and other IOC Members to Japan, Korea and many other nations all spotted on site. Also, Dr. Liston Bochette, former Atlanta Olympic international relations head Charlie Battle (a fellow Atlantan) and about every Russian news organization and several of Russia's gold medal athletes were a buzz. Russian beer and watermelon-infused vodka mojitos contributed to the good times had by all.

The event provided a great introduction to Sochi and what will certainly be an outstanding future Olympiad. Gonna have to ease up on the mojitos the next time we visit Russia House.

Borat, Eat Your Heart Out






Until "Borat" hit the big screen, my only knowledge of Kazakhstan went back to ... well, I never had heard much about Kazakhstan except on recent maps and globes. If Borat is out there somewhere reading this, "High Five!"

After meeting a couple of the Kazakhstan women's volleyball team members, count me in for a future visit to Kazakhstan! We met several members of the team in the Olympic Green SuperStore on our way to a media event for B.C. Canada Pavilion.

Very Nice!

Sunday Gymnastics, Part 2











Here are some more photos from Sunday Gymnastics (see post below).

Sunday Gymnastics








The Beijing National Indoor Stadium was the scene of day one for women's gymnastics. Though my seat for the big event -- opening competition for the women's teams from USA, Japan, U.K. and Italy -- was for the 300s section, I never made it that far up in the arena.

After helping a fellow American with a photo request (they forgot their cameras, so I snapped a shot to later e-mail), I followed my new acquaintances into the 100s seating (the helpful and plentiful volunteers never did ask my exact seat number). This entry point combined with my assigned Olympic credential later opened doors to the media photo pit for the event (overlooking the balance beam and vault, just a few yards away).

The USA women did not disappoint. All the team seemed to be trying their best (it was slightly challenging to keep up with the scores and rotations). Italy had the best floor exercise tunes (Madame Butterfly, ohh, la, la). After the second rotation, and feeling like there was nothing to lose, I moved to another corner of the arena and sat on the front row overlooking balance beam -- sweet seats!

Turns out more than two things come from Okahoma ...

To my left, a fellow Oklahoman: Mr. 1984 Gold Medalist Bart Conner!
Behind Bart: His wife, Nadia Comaneci, trying her best to keep track of their very young son!

Though gymnastics' golden couple did not respond to requests for a blog interview, at the conclusion of the fourth and final rotation, most of the building was cleared. I lingered for a bit and discovered the photo pit again, this time transformed into the post-event media Q&A area, sans security!

I did not want to push my luck any further on the access coup, so did not attempt any interviews with team USA. But there was no problem snapping a photo or 10. The day was off to an awesome start, and it wasn't yet noon!

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Here Comes The Rain Again


Breakfast at Novotel (across the street from our apartment at Lee Gardens), a first for Beijing since my first morning in town: Rain!

It poured buckets for a few minutes, and now is a steady drizzle. It's a welcome cooler morning and I'm humming one of my favorite Eurythmics tunes.

Something else cool: My first ticket to an event! Some Olympic volunteers in the hotel after breakfast were giggling about an item that was handed to them before I walked up to get a map. Some nice person had just handed them a stack of gymnastics tickets for this afternoon! Two pins and about $25 (180 yuan) later, I emerged from the hotel with a cake event ticket (these babies are selling for more than $1,000 on eBay)!

Now before everyone starts giving me hard time for scamming these local volunteers, please note I did not take them for a ride. Rather, they kindly directed me to a ticket office near the hotel and that is where the purchase took place. I gave two pins to the helpful volunteers as a Xie Xie (shay-shay = thank you), and will blog about the women's gymnastics hall later.

Man, I love the Olympics!

Condolences

We heard later in the afternoon that there was an incident involving U.S. tourists at one of Beijing's landmark tourist sites. It was only late tonight it crossed the wire that the family injured in the attack was the Bachman family of Minneapolis.

During my days at the Minnesota State University at Mankato, I held many temp jobs, including several Christmas and Valentine's Day holiday shifts at the garden center and floral superstore known as the Bachman's headquarters, located just south of downtown Minneapolis and Uptown neighborhoods. The family has a long history in Minnesota and, as I recall, the company usually is called on to decorate the White House with poinsettias from the Twin Cities (one year while temping on December break, we loaded one of the trucks bound for D.C.).

Though there was never an occasion to meet the Bachman owners personally, I always appreciated this family-owned business for bringing me into their holiday projects and team, and send sincere condolences.

Feeling Very Olympic Today






Games Day One. Spectacular!

Started the day at 7 a.m. with a taxi ride for first visit to the Olympic Green, which is grand central Olympic station north of the city. My colleague Paul and client Julie shared a cab to just east of the Bird's Nest, scene of the greatest Olympic Opening Ceremony of all time just eight hours prior.

Our mission: Find the McDonald's pavilion, host of the Around The Rings breakfast press event slated to include World Olympians Association President Richard Fosbury. Though this high jumping gold medalist had to jump to another event, the breakfast was no "flop." But before I get to why ...

The taxi driver tried his best, but just could not get us to the right stadium. I think we visited two other massive stadiums in Beijing before we spotted the Bird's Nest on the horizon. Then there were the races from security gate to gate, in search of "the other one" to provide access onto the Green. Where are those padded insoles when you need them most?

Turned out we were about a mile south of our destination by the time we got on the Green. Which brought the question: Hike? Or risk another cab ride into infinity?

We walked. Well, we sort of race-walked, past some of the largest Olympic venues and other buildings I have ever seen. And everything -- EVERYTHING -- is covered with the gorgeous "look of the Games" colors, flags and emblems.

After three screening areas, 45 minutes, litres of perspiration and a few choice words, we at last arrived at what had become to us "Xanadu" with Golden Arches. But no Fosbury!

But also, no worries. His replacements turned out to be very cool and very experienced in the WOA and the Olympic scene.

IOC Member Anita DeFrantz and Olympian (and former Atlanta Olympic Village Colleague) Willie Banks, now president of U.S. Olympians, were the guests of honor, and we noshed on McMuffins while they answered questions from Around The Rings and other attendees.

For Mr. Banks, I posed a question about the WOA's challenges to track down Olympians in remote nations. He answered with great information about the WOA's mission and how the organization is establishing chapters in National Olympic Committee affiliates.

For Ms. DeFrantz, my question related back to discussion of the previous evening: How is the IOC going to tackle the challenge of the time it takes more than 200 participating NOCs to enter the stadium (my suggestion, for anyone interested, is to keep the tradition of letting every participant encircle the stadium behind their flag, but to have two, three or even four simultaneous entry points so there are up to four NOCs announced at once). DeFrantz responded that the IOC has looked at the challenge and considered options, but it is a fine balance to switch traditions entrenched in the Olympic lexicon.

We had barely finished our last round of hash browns when we trekked to the Main Press Center (MPC), the left ventricle of the media heart of the Games (the right ventricle being the next door neighbor International Broadcast Center (IBC). With thanks to the Vancouver 2010 media relations team, our MPC Day Pass and tour helped me reconnect with the Atlanta Journal-Constitution's Social Butterfly reporter/blogger Jennifer Brett to compare notes on our Games experiences thus far (I suspect you can read about her afternoon cooking adventure in her blog).

The MPC is only steps from the Olympic Sponsor Village on the Green, but there is a Great Wall of China security fence between the two. So to solve the challenge: MORE walking! My girlfriend would be proud of all these hikes! For me, I just get tired!

We needed to check out a few of the sponsor pavilions that British Columbia's Premier will visit next week, and we were greeted by a smiling Edelman colleague and our client, GE, at GE's Imagination Center, which is absolutely fabulous (I'll write more on their pavilion in future entry when we return next week). We were hosted for a quick tour, then our walking adventure resumed to find the Olympic Green's newly opened train station to get us back home to City Center to prepare for our evening event at B.C. Canada Pavilion.

I've not written much yet on our media mission for the pavilion. In addition to working with all of Canada's media deployed for the Games, Edelman Beijing and yours truly have been busy inviting media to experience all that B.C. Canada Pavilion offers as a destination in the Olympic City. Tonight, the pavilion hosted its third consecutive VIP evening, and media were on site in droves, including new friends from the Vancouver Sun, The Province, Global TV, CTV, Associated Press TV and the Reuters IOC Writer, who mentioned he'd seen this blog and gave me one of the best pins of Beijing (the coveted Reuters China pin -- thanks, Karolos!).

So tonight I'm blogging with some post-media event bliss, and some Games euphoria setting in for a fortnight. Can only guess what tomorrow's adventures will bring, and can hardly wait!

Friday, August 8, 2008

It is SO --- ON!


A note to London: GOOD (freakin') LUCK!

It will be unspeakably difficult for the 2012 Summer Games city to top Beijing's mesmerizing Opening Ceremony, which just concluded locally. Unfortunately, a ticket for this blogger was not in the cards, but no worries -- the Canadians took in this Yankee and we had a fab night next to Tiananmen Square, where the stream of (SPOILER ALERT) citywide fireworks launched en route across the skyline all the way to the Bird's Nest at 8:08 on 8-8-08.

It's my understanding the entire metro Beijing area was under a blanket of fireworks by night's end (more than two dozen major sites ignited). At T-Square, the post-ceremony explosions continued outside B.C. Canada Pavilion with tens of thousands of Chinese nationals chanting "Chi-na! Chi-na!" in Mandarin and English.

I've not yet found words to describe my reactions and emotions about the Opening Ceremony presentation. It absolutely buries any past Opening, throwing out the shovel and dusting off the hands. Cheerleaders at Atlanta '96 -- huh? Flaming arrow in Barcelona '92 -- that was cute. Athens in '04 -- fah-get-a-bout-it! Tonight will be talked about in 25, 50, 100 years in the Olympic lexicon of "that's how you do Opening Ceremonies!"

I'll wait to post video so as not to spoil the show back on the East Coast (and so as not to get my Olympic credential revoked -- rules are rules!).

You are in for a treat -- savor and enjoy! The Games are ON!

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Oh, Henry!




At B.C. Canada Pavilion's location aside the Beijing Planning Exhibition Center, there was a bit of buzz on Thursday. We've had a couple of false alarms about VIP arrivals, but this one turned out to be real.

Former U.S. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger emerged from an air conditioned bus and shook hands with a few of the pavilion staff before he took a tour of the BPEC's famous floor model of the skyline of Beijing. His small entourage included his son, who tried to help facilitate a brief FlipCam interview (which the good doctor declined, unfortunately).

The FlipCam DID capture Kissinger's photo opp with the museum director and translator and an impromptu handshake with one of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (Kissinger stepped out of the photo opp specifically to offer his hand to this uniformed officer). He was polite and smiled as he was presented a book of photos from his diplomatic missions to China of the early 1970s.

Had Kissinger agreed to interview, my questions would have been two or three: When he was Secretary of State for Nixon, did he ever dream of returning to China to attend an Olympic Games? Given his personal history spanning several continents, what are his favorite personal Olympic moments? And, What's better from his perspective -- winning a Nobel Prize or an Olympic Gold?

While snapping the shots of Special K in the museum, he did comment on the Bird's Nest stadium he'll apparently visit today for Opening Ceremonies. "Very good," he said.

Gotta LOVE that accent of his!

video

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Blue Skies!



Clear sky. It does exist in Beijing. Today we trekked back to Edelman Beijing and snapped a couple of shots (shown) of their building's next door neighbor, CCTV's new headquarters (under construction). Oh, man, it is awesome!
During the last few days, we noticed a flat, circular structure being added atop this massive building. My theory is that it is a helipad or a temporary Olympic Cauldron (at least two other buildings around the city appear to have similar rooftop "cauldrons" for unknown use).
Which brings me to a theory about the Olympic Cauldron for this city. I don't think anyone has seen it! Which leads me to believe that the entire opening of the Bird's Nest Olympic Stadium is going to be ignited, creating the first stadium-sized Olympic cauldron (which from a distance will appear as a giant flame juxtaposed with the neighboring Water Cube swim center. We'll see.
Any theories out there?

Ronnie At The Games

Though I'm a huge fan of the big documentary film that took on the Golden Arches, I also am a lifelong fan of McDonald's continued support of the Olympic Movement.

According to information sent from the Help A Reporter Out call for Olympic suggestions, Ronald & Co. started supporting the Olympic Family as early as 1968 when athletes in Grenoble, France, were homesick for burgers, fries and the like (the Illinois-based company reportedly answered the call by airlifting food to the Games).
My earliest McD & Games memories take me back to 1984 and commercials involving Sam The Olympic Eagle mascot and Ronald thick as thieves (and perhaps as thick as Grimace -- the purple and possible inspiration behind 1996 Olympic mascot, Izzy). And speaking of the 1996 Games, as a staff member in the Olympic Village my colleagues and I supped daily on McNuggets and sauce (action repeated in Sydney's Olympic Village during volunteer gig -- they had exotic curry and spice sauce for dipping down under - OY!).

In Beijing, I've visited one 24-hour Mickey D and did my best to order a happy meal ('smile meal' in Mandarin, from what I can tell) to receive a mascot Fu-Wa as the "prize" inside. Not sure whether I'll be back to collect all five mascots, but will visit the Olympic Green McDonald's pavilion opening (as work schedule permits) at which the likes of Carl Lewis and other Olympians are slated to attend.

We also scheduled our client, British Columbia Premier Gordon Campbell, to share the stage at the Around The Rings/McDonald's Newsmaker Media Breakfast on August 13 (he will join VANOC to discuss the status of preparations for the 2010 Winter Games). If you're an Olympic nut like me, you need to be reading Around The Rings and the great daily content by Ed and Sheila Hula and their Atlanta-based (yet on the ground in China) team. Thanks to McD's for a great central location for their events!

Wondering whether Morgan Spurlock will attend.

Be sure to check out the website for this sponsor, on which they have an Olympic video contest (deadline to vote is August 7, so hurry up and cast your ballot).

Currency Inferiority Complex?


Last week I invited public relations members of Help A Reporter Out (HARO) to submit Olympic stuff. Several very interesting items filled my in box, the first of which is a million dollar idea.

According to the publicist for GovMin.com, for the 2008 Beijing Games the China Mint created the largest Olympic coin in history. I've always been more of a philatelist than into numismatics, but must admit this massive coin (22 pounds of solid gold) was intriguing.

How big is it? It's so big it puts the U.S. 25 cent piece to shame, sort of like putting earth next to Saturn or Jupiter on a solar system model (see photo). This coin will only set you back a cool Olympic million dollars, with only one such special edition medallion available in the U.S.

I think I'll stick to Olympic pin collecting and stamps for now, but look forward to learning about the eventual sale of this coin. In the meantime, this KARE-TV (Minneapolis/St. Paul NBC) clip on the coins is quite good video.
UPDATE (added Aug. 7): At the time of this posting above, I was not aware that the Royal Canadian Mint is involved, and that the Mint is actually a client of Edelman's Beijing office. So in the interest of disclosure, adding this update that the Mint works with Edelman Beijing for the Mint's participation in the Olympex Exhibition (which I will certainly add to my action list for a visit).

Monday, August 4, 2008

Take A Bite Out Of Crime


I have yet to spot McGruff the Crime Dog in Beijing (biting my tongue on several possible cuisine comments related to 'China Syndrome' post below), but Olympic blog readers can help take a bite out of crime during the Games.


Just days before embarking on this Beijing work travel, one night outside my office I was troubled to find my Georgia license plate -- "OLYMPIC" -- was swiped from the back of my vehicle. Annoying. Frustrating. Disappointed!


Fortunately many sympathetic friends and contacts have helped spread the word about the pilfered plate (helping to prevent its listing on Ebay, Craig's List, license plate collector sites, and the like). I'm now offering a reward for its safe return.


Thanks to blogger and reporter, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution's "Social Butterfly" Jennifer Brett, a new lead or two have trickled in (Jennifer posted an item on her blog that provides more details). While my expectations are low that the plate will show up any time soon, I appreciate your support and sympathies (and thanks also to Atlanta 5-0 for helping with the police report).

China Syndrome






One of our esteemed colleagues at B.C. Canada Pavilion coined a phrase for the common reaction of Westerner's delicate digestive systems to authentic Asian cuisine. The "China Syndrome" is a reality I've been dealing with for about 36 hours.

Not sure whether it was the spicy chicken lunch on day three, or accidentally rinsing teeth (after brushing -- dental health is very important, especially at the Olympics) with non-potable tap water on day four, but whatever it was, I've been running to Beijing's men's rooms with more frequency than should be described on a blog! Definitely a "serious condition" much like the great film with Michael Douglas and Jane Fonda.

The food here has actually been quite good on a consistent basis. My Edelman Vancouver colleague Paul Welsh and our B.C. contact Julie took me up the road to the "night market" where we spotted some curious culinary delights I had last seen in Bangkok. Starfish anyone? How about some caterpillar larvae (skewered for your dining pleasure)? The photos and video don't convey the smells of the market, which range from strolling past Krispy Kreme and/or stepping into the meat truck in the outstanding film "The Cook, The Thief, His Wife and Her Lover" (high on the EWWWW meter).

Best meal hands down was takeout we ordered at the pavilion on Sunday (see photo with egg). Just the right kick of chili spices. I may have to stick with that restaurant after the China Syndrome at last subsides.

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