Thursday, 14 August 2008

The Corner

Oh yes I’ve settled in. Well and truly into my stride. It must be something to do with recovery from the jet lag. It might in fact have something to do with being better lagged.

I was finding it slightly odd that I was sniffing despite temperatures being between 88 and 92F. All the pre-games publicity about the environment made me think it might be something to do with air quality.

But I think it’s the air conditioning. I’m not used to it. Numbing humidity outside into the Ice Station Zebra that is the International Broadcast Centre.

For a press conference involving the soon to be anointed world number one tennis player Rafael Nadal and the rest of the Spain team, I went from the ice station out into the clammy madness and into the Main Press Centre which must also be microclimatically linked to the polar caps.

Not good.

To offset these extremes I’ve now started wearing a jacket inside the IBC.

It's bizarre that I need to think about extra layers in these sort of temperatures but ay, there’s the rub.

I feel cosier and that’s made me feel better or it’s perhaps overheating my self-belief.

While being given a cordial but functional tour of the Olympic Village Pin Centre, the pin ambassador was explaining to me the environmentally friendly properties of the centre.

She added: “China is a big country and so we’ve got to be aware of not making too much pollution.”

“Is that something your generation is more aware of? I inquired. “What, you’re 22? 23?....are those the kind of things you were told about during your school days…..?

“No I’m 19......”

“Oh I’m sorry, it’s just that your English is so good I thought you must be older...”

Even I knew the needle had exploded off the smarmometer. But I needed to oil myself out of a glaring error. But Chen Xi – all 19 years of her – guided me a tad more fervently around the centre outlining in far more detail the whizzer projects.

There’s one in which the athletes are given a T shirt emblazoned with: “I’m From Earth” because it has been made from five recycled plastic bottles.

Indeed as she was telling me, a Croatian athlete was measuring up for his free sample. He was XXL and actually looked like he was hewn from granite.

The drift is to hand the T shirts it out to the competitors so that when they wear it they will remember their time in Beijing and also highlight China’s increasing desire for environmental engagement. When I spoke to Ms Chen only 5,000 of the 11,000athletes staying in the Olympic Village had taken up the offer.

I suggested that any leftovers should be handed out to the journalists. “That’s always a great way to get the message across,” I added.

“That’s a good idea. I will say it to my manager.”