Well done, and thanks


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BEIJING -- Most Americans I’ve spoken to were anxious to get back to their homes and families, but in no way was this a poor reflection of their time in China. Everyone I spoke to went on about how hospitable everyone in China has been. It’s understandable that after a couple of weeks away that feeling of homesickness starts to set in.

It was a concern of mine that the politics and protests leading up to the Games would heighten during the competitions. It didn’t, and I’m glad. My concern was that these issues would distract us from the athletes who don’t have anything to do with politics, the athletes who have dedicated their lives to this endeavor, the athletes who earned our attention and respect for the days of the Olympic Games.


Job well done to the people of China.

You have the right to be proud. The Chinese people put on an incredible Olympics. It doesn’t need to be mentioned that the Chinese athletes have a right to be proud as well.

China won the medal count. You can tell me that the U.S. team won more medals overall, just not as many gold (cough, cough). But I have both gold and silver medals, and I know the difference in the reaction the two get in the general public in the U.S. The difference is not even close. But now that China has won the gold medal tally we start to pay attention to those silver and bronze (general public: shrug shoulders, roll eyes) medals?

How did China win? The answer is very simple. Money. China invested in sports programs, coaching, facilities and athletes. The results are astounding. China earned 32 gold medals in 2004 and 51 gold in 2008.

Britain gained a lot of ground too. Since it was announced that the 2012 Games are to be held in London, revenue has increased and so has their world standing in the medal count, up to 19 gold in 2008 from nine gold in 2004.

If we are to ever regain the title of the most dominant nation in sports, we need to fund our programs and athletes. More money, more medals.

I think I’ve had the worst time of anyone here. That bird flu, strain 53Y something, I got hasn’t gone away. Waking up after three days of unconsciousness to find tsetse flies sucking my lymph nodes couldn’t have helped. Maybe it was just the malaria. I’ve been hallucinating and it’s possible those tsetse flies never existed. But then what can account for all these pox, if they aren’t tsetse fly bites? I don’t know.


What I do know is that I’ve spent more time in my hotel room than I did on my honeymoon, sick and in bed, coughing, wheezing, sweating and hallucinating. The last few days I’ve been completely delirious. I feel sorry for the guy I have to sit next to on my flight home Tuesday.

I had a scheduled meeting with the Chinese Minister of Health and had to cancel because I was so sick. That meeting was a really big deal. There are 40 million Chinese living with diabetes, and there are a lot more who have not been diagnosed.

Thank you to BD who has made my dreams of inspiring people with diabetes a reality. Thank you to Eli Lilly and Co. for sending me to Beijing and allowing me to be part of the Inspired by Diabetes program. If you know someone with diabetes, get involved! Thank you to Speedo for your help setting up the swim clinic for young Chinese swimmers.

Thank you to all of you who have read my blogs and written to the L.A. Times. Thank you to Lisa Dillman for setting up this opportunity for me. Thanks to the patient editors who lend a guiding hand. Thank you to the L.A. Times, the greatest newspaper in the world.

And thank you, China, for hosting an Olympics that I will never forget.

And my shameless plug:

The Gary Hall Jr. Foundation for Diabetes:

The Race Club:


-- Gary Hall Jr.