London 2012: Games Chasers unite

At an Olympics roof party in Beijing in 2008

Living in China for four years, I established something. I love an Olympics.

We may not have had the civilization classes, but Londoners, like Beijingers, are experiencing many of the same things that go with the Olympics, from lanyards to Games Lanes and the army of desperately helpful, garishly clad volunteers. The big difference? The Chinese can do mass transit like no-one else. They have to. With the population they have there would be riots where people died if they didn’t run enough trains and run them on time. We just grumble a bit and carry on leafing through The Standard.

Last time around I was working for China Daily. Now, I’m reporting on the Games for BBC London. Here are some of my Olympics stories so far:

London 2012: Domestic violence hub opens near Olympic Park

Olympics security poster ‘gibberish’ to Arabic speakers

The London workforce not receiving a Games bonus

The Olympics missile base with sun deck, pool and bar

Here’s looking forward to the drama, the parties, the world records, the controversies and that addictive feeling of being in the centre of the universe for a few weeks.

Were you in Beijing for the 2008 Games? Get in touch @jomcdermott.

My Beijing Olympics working for the Chinese media: Eye exercises, lip-synching and squatter loos

On top of the world: Josephine at Beijing's 'Bird's Nest' stadium in 2008

I remember thinking on my first day at the newspaper office where I was going to be for the Beijing Olympics, that I never imagined I would encounter the risk of peeing on myself at work.

For there in the new China Daily website office with its break-out zones, potted plants and brightly coloured ergonomic furniture, traditional squatter loos had been installed in the Ladies.

We may have been forging ahead with web pages, text alerts, and online broadcasting at our desks, but in the loos we were only a few porcelain steps up the evolutionary ladder from hitching up our skirts and going by the side of the road, or so it felt.

For the Beijing Games in 2008 I was called up from the Shanghai bureau to live and work at the main office of China’s state-run English national newspaper. I was to help edit stories for the China Daily website. It was a dream gig. Every expat living in China was trying to get themselves to the capital for the big event.

In the tradition of Communist work units, my accommodation was in a block of workers’ flats within the office compound. It took a bit of getting used to bumping into my boss in the lift when I was hungover on a Sunday morning. Three subsidised meals a day were served in the canteen.

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