London 2012

Press release

Olympic spirit and values quickly turn into reality at Earls Court

Chinese fans at Earls Court in the opening day of the volleyball tournament

London, Great Britain, July 28, 2012 – The Olympics are known for bringing people together in a spirit of friendship and fair play and that message was clearly promoted also by the fabulous opening ceremony followed by billions of people around the world on Friday night.

As the volleyball tournament got started at Earls Court more than 13,000 people filled up the stands of this gigantic facility where the Olympics are coming back after boxing, wrestling, artistic gymnastics and weightlifting had all taken place here back in 1948.

Such a large audience was quite a surprise, especially since volleyball is not that popular in Great Britain, but the Olympics have got their special flavor and even out of curiosity people want to be part of this magnificent show.

Jerry and Maiko form an international couple that absolutely fits to the multi-cultural and open-minded atmosphere London is known for. He is Chinese, was born in Shanghai and has been spending the past six years in the United Kingdom. She is Japanese, got to know his partner in Singapore and on Saturday morning they both came over to cheer on their respective national teams.

Maiko was evidently happy with Japan’s speedy win over Algeria and like many of her compatriots she is pretty familiar with the sport. “Volleyball is very popular in Japan and everyone plays it at school. We all know the rules of the game and enjoy watching it live”. Captain Erika Araki is her favorite player, actually also the only one she did know before this game.

Jerry was not less happy and satisfied with the performance displayed by China in its first match of the tournament, which ended up in a 3-1 win over the 2011 European champions of Serbia. “I did not have the chance to attend the Beijing Olympics four years ago since by that time I had already moved to Europe, so I did not want to miss this opportunity to follow at least some events here in London. We have got tickets also for the bronze medal match of the women’s volleyball tournament and who knows… Maybe Japan and China will play each other for a spot on the podium. In this case we will first have a family war” he smiles.

He does speak some Japanese while she knows little Chinese, but live in England after meeting in Singapore: with this background they could not portray any better the Olympic spirit whose main goal is to bring people together to promote peace, inclusion, integration and fair play. Jerry was delighted to be informed that China opened its Olympic campaign by winning gold and bronze this morning in the women’s air rifle event, quite a good omen for a remake of the terrific results claimed by the Asian giant four years ago in Beijing. “We have got a strong team here as well, I guess” he says. “I’d love to attend also some track and field events, especially the 100 m final, but it won’t be easy as everyone wants to be there”.

As for yesterday’s opening ceremony at the Olympic stadium, Maiko says “it was very British but funny. I especially liked the appearance of Mr. Bean (actor Rowan Atkinson) and the queen playing the role of a ‘bond girl’, that was really great”. Team Japan and China still have got a long way to the Olympic podium but Jerry and Maiko hope they will be back at Earls Court in less than two weeks to cheer again on their heroines as they vie for a medal. “Honestly, even though we’ve got tickets for the bronze medal match I would prefer to have Japan playing for gold” she jokes. Surrounded by a large crowd of Chinese fans, this young Japanese lady did nevertheless feel very comfortable.

“These Games bring many hopes”, so IOC President Dr. Jacques Rogge in his speech on Friday right before the Olympics were officially opened by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. “Hope for harmony and peace between the 204 National Olympic Committees. Hope to see the young generations inspired by the values of sport”. And the hope to see people come together regardless of nationality, race or religion. It is only day 1 here in London but with Jerry and Maiko this wish has already turned into reality.

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