LONDON — For many veteran fans of the Olympics, the London experience has so far been quite different than that of the Beijing games in 2008.
American Gary Davis has been to nine Olympics and says the stadiums built for the London games cannot compare to the iconic architectural design of the bird's nest stadium and water cube aquatic center built for the 2008 Beijing Olympics. Still, he says, London has other advantages.
“The facilities in Beijing were truly spectacular. They were really incredible. There is nothing wrong with these. They are very nice. Everything is very well organized. It is nice to be speaking English,” Davis said.
John Fogarty from Los Angeles says so far the London games are fun. But he says there was more public excitement in Beijing.
“I don't know if that's because that city was although big, a little more central and everything here is a little more spread out but it seemed like everywhere you went in Beijing was just a little more intense in terms of the focus on the Olympics aspect of it,” Fogerty said.
Of course for the Chinese, the Beijing Olympics was a chance to showcase the country's emerging wealth and power, while the Chinese government kept a tight lid on political activities surrounding the games. In London, political activists and other protestors have free rein. For the British, the Olympics are just one of many international sporting events held in London over the years.
Die-hard Lithuanian Olympics fan Alius Bilunas and his friends say they prefer the focus on fun and sports in London to the artificial grandeur of Beijing.
“China was a bit of a blow up. They made it look not as good as it was. I think London showed real respect to everybody,” Bilunas said.
And many of these experienced fans prefer the cool, wet climate of London to the intense heat of Beijing in summer.