Dr. Bob Elliott is a freelance photojournalist with over 20 years of experience. His major focus is on athletic competitions, particularly track and field. When his schedule permits, he competes in road races. Dr. Bob works as a neuropsychologist in Los Angeles and resides with his wife in Manhattan Beach, California.
What an exciting adventure we had in Beijing at the 2008 Olympic Games. Days after we arrived, I agreed to provide dispatches on my experiences and impressions. | MORE BEIJING DISPATCHES
My initial self-imposed task was to write about the community of Beijing and its’ people, with the Olympic Games as the background experience, but after the athletic competitions began I got caught up in the excitement of the athletic events, especially track and field. At that point the community and the people remained important features in my experiences but the primary focus of the dispatches changed to the competitions.
My wife and I had no expectations when we arrived, other than it was exciting to be visiting Asia for the first time and we had an opportunity to see a nation in rapid transition. We attended the Games with a “tourist” visa--not a “Journalist” visa, since a number of my photojournalist colleagues had been denied “Journalist” visas. No reason was given for the denials. Consequently, many journalists gained entry into China with “Tourist” visas.
People and Culture. From the beginning of our journey we experienced nothing but friendliness and graciousness from the volunteers that were everywhere in the city late into the evening. Other citizens would occasionally greet us with a friendly smile and comment, “Welcome to Beijing.” The only time we encountered “aggressiveness” was when we would wait in a line--it was “every man for himself” in lines for anything. Size was not a factor as the smaller and obviously very agile elderly Chinese grandmothersplowed their way though anyone who was in front of them. Generally, they were very successful in their effort.
What went right Saturday night for the U.S. 4x400-meter relay teams overshadowed what went wrong with the sprint relay teams a few nights ago. U.S. relay stars arrived at the stadium with a focus and intention to put everything on the line on the final night of track and field at the Bird’s Nest. Read more »
The “World’s Greatest Athlete” has been declared at the 2008 Summer Games. Read more »
BEIJING -- It was raining on the track as U.S. runners LaShawn Merritt (Suffork, Va.), Jeremy Wariner (Waco, Texas) and David Neville (Valencia, Calif.) finished in a 1-2-3 sweep of the men’s 400 meters. Read more »
BEIJING -- Nick Symmonds of Springfield, Ore,, the 2008 Olympic Trials 800m champion, advanced to the semi-finals in a perfectly executed race that had fans sitting on their edge of their seats. Read more »
Believe it. Dawn Harper (Los Angeles), 2003 USA junior champion in the 100m hurdles, shocked the stadium audience and her fellow competitors with her 12.54-second Gold Medal winning performance last night at the Bird’s Nest. The time was a personal record (PR) for Harper, who was considered by many to be lucky to make the finals in the 100m hurdles. Read more »
The Bird’s Nest National Stadium was jammed with anxious spectators, including U.S. fans who were hungry for Gold. Fans were not disappointed, as they once again witnessed a night filled with amazing performances. Read more »
There will be no tours of Beijing or the countryside today. Our focus will be on serious issues involving track and field competitions at the Summer Games last night (Sunday) and today (Monday). Read more »
We awoke to cloudy skies and warm, but not stifling, weather. A few drops of rain fell in the morning that cleared the skies. Before the evening track and field session, we took a few hours to tour the Summer Palace, a sprawling landscaped park on the edge of Beijing. Read more »
Finally, after many days of anticipation, track and field competition has begun! Many of the U.S. visitors attending the athletic competitions are well informed about most, if not all of the track and field events. The majority of individuals from the U.S. with whom we have talked are from California or Oregon. Read more »
It was afternoon thunderstorms and pouring rain in Beijing today, making travel into the community difficult. Read more »
As we visited Chong Wenman Market, a fresh food specialty market located in central Beijing, we encountered two-time Olympian Seth Kelsey and his mother, Susan.
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Today began with a break in the weather. Last night’s rain appeared to cool down the temperature, although the high humidity continued. Read more »
After last nights thunderstorm we awoke today to a view of the nearby mountains and the glimmer of a little sunshine. We had no idea that there were mountains a few miles away. Later in the morning the sky clouded over, and the mountains were once again invisible. The afternoon produced a few drops of rain. The temperature has cooled to the mid 80s but the humidity remains oppressive. Read more »
As thundershowers and rain moved into the area, Dr. Bob Elliott still finds himself having trouble getting tickets to Olympic events. In the meantime, he notes how meticulous the Chinese have been about maintaining cleanliness and orderliness in his hotel and in the tourist areas. There is absolutely NO litter to be found on the streets or at various tourist sites, he says.Read more »
On the first day of Olympics competition, Dr. Bob Elliott reflects on the frustration of being a spectator. Some venues sit practically empty, and yet the staff refuse to allow people to go sit in the seats, saying that the seats are already sold. He wonders how a sea of empty seats will appear on television as the events move into the finals. | OLYMPIC SCHEDULERead more »
Athletes behaving badly
Waiting for daylight so we can fish.
This was the early morning scene from the Boardwalk in Coos Bay, where fisherman line up in hopes of catching a big salmon.