Despite the Olympics being held in Beijing and six other coastal cities, the Olympics are essentially a local event for all of China. Kunming may not be hosting any events, but it has played its own role in the runup to the games, serving as a high-altitude training base, not just for China's Olympians but also for athletes from Japan, South Korea, Malaysia and several other countries.
With the torch preparing to enter the National Stadium aka 'The Bird's Nest', American sports network ESPN arranged a journalist roundtable to discuss the political repercussions of China hosting the games, as well as how China will perform in different events. Host Anthony Tao was joined by Newsweek Beijing bureau chief Melinda Liu, China Daily columnist Raymond Zhou, Sexy Beijing writer, editor and host Anna Sophie Loewenberg.
Rounding out the roundtable was former GoKunming contributor Maggie Rauch, who is now based in Beijing as co-founder and editor of China Sports Today, the foremost English-language source of information about sports in China [disclosure: your correspondent is a contributor to and cofounder of China Sports Today]
A transcript of the ESPN roundtable can be viewed here. Our favorite quote may be this one by China Daily's Zhou:
"Personally, I only care about Liu Xiang because I feel Liu Xiang winning the gold medal is tantamount to Barack Obama winning the presidency in the United States. Because it's about more than sports. It's about shattering stereotypes that Asians are intrinsically not good at track and field."