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A day of Ukraine at the Olympic Games
Gan bei in Chinese is close in meaning to the Ukrainian bud’mo, or cheers! in English. During the Day of Ukraine which was held during the Olympic Games in Beijing, China, last August, this exclamation was heard many times.
«Olympic games should be outside politics and should become a symbol of peace, friendship and healthy spirit,” proposed the French educator and thinker Pierre de Coubertin who initiated the modern Olympic games at the end of the nineteenth century. Since then these principles have remained unchanged but the scale of the games has changed greatly. The summer Olympic Games which were held in Beijing, China, in August 2008 were to date the biggest as far as the number of participants is concerned, and the most glamorous from the point of view of shows that opened and closed the games. The organization of the games was highly praised too.
Sport fans came to Beijing from many countries of the world and at the stadiums they provided moral support and cheered the athletes from their respective countries participating in the games. At night, parties were organized to celebrate victories. The sumptuous palace Chateau Lafitte, an exact replica of the Palace of Fontainebleau (royal palace situated southeast of Paris) which is located in the Olympiad Friends’ House Complex in a suburb of Beijing, was the venue of meetings and parties of the Ukrainian and Russian sport fans who came to Beijing to support their Olympic teams.
On the Day of Ukraine at the Olympic Games, the palace shook with Ukrainian rock music provided by Ruslana. But it was not only rock music that played that day — Ukrainian folk songs were sung, Ukrainian horilka (vodka) was served with all kinds of dainties. The guests, among whom were such celebrities as the boxer Vitaliy Klychko, joined in singing. They also danced all kinds of dances, including “Wild Dances” of Ruslana. Between the dancing and singing, Ukrainian cheers ÒbudÕmoÓ and Russian cheers Òpey do dnaÓ and Chinese cheers Ògan beiÓ were repeatedly heard, as well as best wishes to the Ukrainian Olympic.
The initiative to hold the Day of Ukraine at the
Olympics came from the Ukrainian company
Nemiroff. At a press conference, Oleksandr Glus,
Head of the Board of Directors of Nemiroff Holding,
said, “Our company fully shares the philosophy of
the international Olympic movement which is
based on the striving to win, on perseverance, on
fair competition. We also support the main idea
of this movement — only in the unity of culture,
education, and sports it is possible to develop a
harmonious personality. Olympic games unite
people all around the world. That is why the
international brand Nemiroff is a partner of the
House of Friends of the Olympiad in Beijing.”
Some time before the party at the Palace Chateau
Lafitte began, soccer games for the House of
Friends of the Olympiad Cup were played and the
winners were the team of Russia’s Embassy in
China. Nemiroff presented the winners with
boxing gloves autographed by Klychko and Dzyu.
The organizers of the Day of Ukraine at the Olympics
also organized a show, Great China World, which was
held the day before; the show presented spectacular
aspects of Chinese culture.
The Russian pop star Filip Kirkorov sings in duet with
the Ukrainian pop star Taisiya Povaliy; Kirkorov had
his own one-man show later on.
Chinese martial arts enthusiasts with a huge toy red
pepper; real bitter red peppers are put into some of
the Nemiroff vodka brands.
Vitaliy Klychko came to Beijing with three pounds of
the best Ukrainian salo (hard pork fat, Ukrainian
staple food) hidden in his suitcase, and he shared
the salo with friends at the House of Friends of the
Olympiad. Oleksandr Glus, Head of the Board of
Directors of Nemiroff Holding, coordinates the
salo cutting process.
Kostya Dzyu and Vitaliy Klychko, world champions,
were among the supporters of the Ukrainian Olympic
team. Kostya Dzyu spent some time skating as part
of his training for taking part in the Ice Age Show,
and Vitaliy Klychko had a workout at the Great Wall
of China, as part of his training for his forthcoming
bout with Samuel Peter.
Marysya Horobets, a beautiful MC, was the star
of the day.