A few years ago, I was lucky enough to go with Coke to the 2002 Olympic Games in Salt Lake City, Utah. This year, roughly 30 of our employees went to the Beijing Games as Coca-Cola Ambassadors.

Coke_in_beijing_red_songThey shared their experiences from China through a blog for all of our employees. Though I can’t share all of the blog entries with you, my colleagues said I could give you a few highlights. (I’ve left off their names so they’re not flooded with resumes and emails!)

Here are their thoughts on being at the 2008 Games in Beijing, and what it meant for them to be there.

They had a lot to say, and I had a hard time narrowing their words down, so please check back over the next few days for parts 2 and 3 of their blog entries!

From August 10 – from an employee in our South Africa Business Unit:
Arrived today in China! What an amazing experience getting here after spending hours in transit from Johannesburg to China -- the travelling hours were worth it, as I continuously had to pinch myself at this amazing opportunity of being part of one of the World’s great experiences with a globally amazing brand "Coca-Cola". In China we were welcomed in true Coca-Cola style at the airport -- passion, energy, friendly, warm -- welcome of our associates in the China business unit -- thank you! You guys rock! Everything is amazing around here, the airport is buzzing with people arriving from all over the world coming to experience the 2008 Olympics, all races, all nations, young, old, male, female!
The is just an amazing buzz-from the airport, as we were driving down the road -- flags, colours, everything is painted the Olympics!
We are staying at one of the most beautiful hotels! And experiencing Coca-Cola Hospitality treatment! We are sipping on Coca-Cola all the time! Last night 32 ambassadors from 23 countries (all groups) met for the 1st time together. This is truly an amazing experience! Everything is mind blowing!
As we prepare for World Cup 2010 in South Africa, I can already see how we can delight our consumers the Mzansi way!

From August 10 – from a colleague in the Pacific Group:
I still could not believe this wonderful chance that came my way. As I was rushing through the morning to get ready for my flight to Beijing from Manila, I was thinking of the events that led to my being part of the 2008 Olympic games. THE OLYMPICS!
Coke_in_beijing_the_place_2The drive to the airport was smooth and unusually without traffic hitches (if you live in Manila or have been to and around Manila, you know what I mean). Then I realized I was traveling on a Sunday. Call it good timing or call it blessed. When I reached the airport lounge, I saw my colleague smiling back. We’re going together to Beijing!
Then, I heard someone paging my name. I went to the counter and guess what? The airline staff told me that they were giving me a free upgrade. Wow.
At around 7pm, we finally arrived at the huge Beijing airport, collected our bags from Belt#36 (can you imagine how many baggage claim belts there are at this airport?), were greeted by a gracious usher and reached the Loong Palace hotel in about half an hour. At the Loong Palace, a super team welcomed us and made sure we were debriefed on the program events and were well taken care of.
After settling in our rooms, we went down for whatever we can catch of the reception dinner. There we met the rest of the Coca-Cola Olympic ambassadors and other program participants.
Tonight, as I settle into the pillows, I wonder -- would I be smiling while I sleep? I hope my smile could share with you the wonderful feeling I am feeling being in Beijing, with great colleagues from all over, eagerly awaiting the coming days as we witness the Olympics and the city. And I say to myself, what a wonderful world.