Here is the last installment of blog entries from the employees who went to the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing and talked about their experiences on a blog for Coca-Cola employees around the world.
The employees were nominated by their colleagues to represent Coke at the Games. Here are their first-hand thoughts on being at the Olympics and -- in many cases -- very far from home.
From August 12 – from a colleague in Latin America:
Hi ... again blogging from Beijing
Today ... another intense and long day ...
We started visiting perhaps the most important area in Beijing ... the Tian'anmen Square where so many social and political events took place ... and then the Forbidden City ...
Regarding this area there were two things that called my attention ... security is a must in Beijing public areas ... every person and carry-on / back-pack is scanned before entering the Square ... and a typical cultural behaviour ... many foreigners are requested to take pictures by local people as they were "celebrities"!
After crossing the Square we entered into the Forbidden City were the Emperors lived ... really a fantastic urbanization preserved as a museum with buildings, temples, rivers inside and almost 900 rooms!!! Its construction was initiated in 1406 and it has a history of almost 600 years -- 24 emperors ruled the country for nearly 500 years.
He had lunch in a typical Chinese restaurant, and then we went to the basketball stadium for China vs. Spain match ... as in the Square security was very strict ... more than in many airports from where I come from!!!!
The match was exciting ... China lead it for almost three quarters with a difference of 15 points ... but Spain improved the defense and forced an overtime ... finally Spain won in spite of China's effort.
Last but not least we visited Coca-Cola Olympic Shuang Zone ... this activation point deserves a special chapter in KO's history ... I have never seen anything like this ... giant high-tech displays, a contour mega LED bottle, live artists & musicians, and a "Style My Coke" stand with almost 30 different Olympic Games limited edition labels ... Everything was UNBELIEVABLE!!!!
We arrived back at the hotel at 10:00PM for a light dinner and ready to rest for another exciting experience in Beijing!!!!
From August 13 – more from my colleague in Latin America:
Our last day in Beijing was really an “Olympic Day” … fully dedicated to sports activities …
We started the day stared having breakfast with Dominique Dawes -- three times US Olympian in Gymnastics and member of the “Magnificent 7 Team”. She shared with us his experiences on how she lived her childhood in gymnastics and how she managed to share her time between school, family, friends and hard training.
Afterwards we went to the National Indoor Stadium jointly with Dominique to attend to the Women Gymnastics final competition between China, USA, France, Brazil, Japan, Romania, Australia and Russia. It was a very close competition but finally China won the Gold, followed by USA in Silver and Romania in Bonze. Almost all the fans attending the event were local so the celebration was fantastic.
After a short visit to the Olympic Green we took a bus to the Workers Stadium where football matches take place. We saw Nigeria defeating USA by 2 to 0 … but a special mention to Nigerian’s fans must be made … they were much more than fans … they were a music band!!! … and didn’t stop playing their music until the game was over!!!
After the Nigeria vs. USA match, some of us stayed for Argentina vs. Serbia match. Unfortunately to us all Lionel Messi, nor Roman Riquelme and Kun Agüero played. This made fans turn-over their preferences and started supporting and cheering for Serbia.
After a long and exciting “Sports Day” we arrived at the hotel and have a light dinner … ready for the last half day in Beijing.
From August 17 – from a colleague in the Philippines Business Unit:
It rained heavily in Beijing that afternoon, but we got to the airport on time. Unfortunately, our flight out of Beijing got cancelled, making us miss the Manila connection. But we managed to get a flight out of Beijing that same night and got a flight out of Hong Kong the day after.
Since we had some time to waste at the expansive Beijing Airport, I decided to do some last minute shopping at the Olympic Souvenir store -- a shirt for my grandma, a pin for my cousin, a shirt for my nephew. There are just too many people I want to buy souvenirs for, with so limited money.
I realized as I was on the plane to Hong Kong that I wasn't really able to buy much for myself ... things I could take home with me to remind me of my Beijing experience. Then again I realized that the photo of me with the Olympic Torch is all I ever need.
I had to buy those things for my relatives, because I am not sure if any of them will ever have the chance to fly on a plane, go anywhere outside of the country ... much less go to the Olympics. Those simple trinkets that tell them: I was thinking of you while I was there.
This has been a great blessing and I am truly grateful to God, to my mentors and managers, my team, my colleagues and friends and family who helped me get through my few years of challenges and triumphs in working for the COCA-COLA company.
I also bought stuff for my team and some of my friends. Truly I would like to buy some more for many others. If only I could. I cannot buy gifts for everyone.
But I can share this blog with you.
More on Journey
- Honoring a Native Son: Coca-Cola Exhibit, Panel Pay Tribute to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and His Nobel Peace Prize
- Celebrating the Champs: The Storied History of Coke's Commemorative Sports Cans (and Bottles)
- 5 Artists Who Will Transform How You See Coca-Cola
- Driving Home the Message of Atlanta's Civil Rights Legacy
- ‘What is Coca-Cola?’ Why the Brand Has Appeared on Jeopardy! 200+ Times