LONDON— Emerging sports super-power China may not have won the medal race against the United States, but it certainly topped the gold race elsewhere in the 30th Olympic Games in London.
From Olympic food to athletes’ uniforms to souvenirs, things are Chinese. At the Athletes Village, the International Broadcast Centre and the Main Press Centre, Chinese food is the runaway winner.
The Americans, the Chinese’s main rivals in the medals race, have uniforms made in China. In fact, their Ralph Lauren-designed outfit for the Opening Ceremonies drew an outcry in the United States, particularly lawmakers, as being unpatriotic for being made in China.
The London 2012 shops, including the Mega Store at the Olympic Park, are packed daily with shoppers of souvenirs – from T-shirts and coffee mugs to pins and key rings and national flags – all made in China.
The ultimate irony at these shops is that the Union Jack, Great Britain’s flag and symbol of the hosts’ unbridled patriotism in the Olympic Games, are made in China.
Who knows, the Chinese will win the 2016 Olympic Games race for medals, all made in China.
Meanwhile, a number of North Korea’s athletes – 15 men and 41 women – were taking it all in at the Olympic Games as the London spectacular prepared to shut down with Sunday’s Closing Ceremonies. The North Koreans were a permanent fixture at the one of most popular food areas at the giant mess hall of the Athletes Village.
A Philippine delegation official said the ubiquitous North Koreans were at McDonalds for breakfast, lunch and dinner for more than 18 days. They ate and drank everything on the menu. Looking in awe at the giant golden arch that might very well be the trade mark of imperialist America, the North Koreans appeared to be very excited and animated as they talked, apparently about what to eat next.
McDonalds is one of the major worldwide sponsors of the Games and provides hamburgers, fries and floats to the athletes – for free.