Faster, higher, stronger -- but not yet perfect


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I am pro-China.

It’s hard for me to say that above a whisper and without looking over my shoulder because it is very popular to hate China right now in the U.S.

I support human rights. I do not support genocide. Despite spending many summers in Berkeley, I am not a communist. Our environment’s health is important to me.


The Race Club is a swimming organization I founded that assembles elite swimmers from around the world to live and train together. When you have every race and religious belief living together as a team you gain outside perspective on many issues.

As a citizen of the United States I don’t like to be judged by our country’s foreign policy, administration, product consumption, social welfare, healthcare, or any other one issue, whether I support it or not. How short-sighted, I thought, for anyone to judge you or me on any one issue that you or I have very little at most to do with.

The surge of anti-China sentiment usually revolves around one or two issues. My plea is that we stay focused with our disputes.

If you have an issue with the Chinese government and its handling of Tibet, don’t take it out on the Olympic Games or the athletes representing all the other countries in the world.

China is a great country full of great, proud, hard-working, hospitable people.

In Olympic sports, it is the pursuit of perfection that drives the athlete. Sports is about striving to be better, about getting closer to perfection. Just be better than everyone else and you win. You don’t need to be perfect.

In anything involving the human race, there isn’t going to be perfection. China is not perfect. Nor are the United States, any other nation or any given person.


When it comes to government, I am pro-democracy. Do I think our system is perfect? No. We are a long way off, and that is OK, as long as we are striving to be better.

Everyone has been talking for a long time about how these Olympic Games are supposed to be China’s coming out party. So many people have expected China to use these games as a platform to demonstrate its power. We expected propaganda, and some even expected the political fervor that surrounded the 1936 Berlin Games.

But if anyone is using the Olympic Games as a political platform, it has been the groups that oppose China’s policies. Because China is hosting the Games we all are much more aware of the flaws in Chinese policy on the environment, Tibet and Darfur.

It seems to be OK for those opposed to a given Chinese policy to politicize the Olympics. But woe to China if it uses the Games to promote some of the more positive things it is accomplishing.

Let’s back off China a little bit. So far China and the Chinese people have worked really hard to put on the best Olympic Games ever. They won’t be perfect, but these Olympic Games are shaping up to be better than any other.

And that is something worth cheering for.

-- Gary Hall Jr.

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