"Are they all leaving?" I asked my friend at the first session of beach volleyball this morning. "It looks like it," he laughed, also noticing the stream of people leaving the Chaoyang Park stadium area. The Chinese women's pair had just defeated Switzerland in two sets (21-12, 21-18), and it seemed as though, for many of the Chinese fans, the win was all that they'd come for. When the next game between Australia and Russia was beginning, I went back inside to find that only about a third of the spectators were left -- many of the host fans had flown the faux beach.
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Obviously, people come to root for their home countries; but when you're playing host -- and highly ecstatic and honored to do so -- you probably shouldn't leave your own party. Even the volunteer cheer squad -- who had done a nice job of leading claps, 'Zhong Guo Jia You!' (Go China!) chants, and even starting a wave or two during the two prior non-China games -- went missing after the Chinese team finished. The remaining fans were left with the scantily clad baobei (Chinese cheerleaders who seemed confused by the definition of dancing and, while we're at it, cheering).
Yes, it was hot out today. Nevertheless, it was disappointing, considering that locals have vocalized the desire to squash other countries in the medal count, to see that good sportsmanship by way of gracious fans was getting lost in the climb to the top.