Beijing 2008

Beijing’s Beijing 2008 blog covers the games from the lawyer’s perspective, with posts from lawyers and other legal professionals in the city on the Olympic events, the gossip, the law firms and the atmosphere.

The blog begans with a surprisingly clean post from Beijing-based legal recruiter Rob Metcalf on, er, the women’s volleyball and how to chant ‘Go Beer!” in Mandarin, while Christoph Hezel of Taylor Wessing followed with news of a new area of control for the people’s party.

To send us your own Olympic blog or photo, email me: Jon Parker, web editor

‘From courtroom to pool’
, Mary Kok
Wednesday 13th August, 1pm

Mary Kok, a member of Clifford Chance’s business development team in Hong Kong, is spending a week in Beijing watching her daughter, Stephanie Au Hoi Shun, compete for Hong Kong’s swimming team at the Olympics.

I didn’t believe it was really happening until I got safely to my seat in Beijing’s beautiful Water Cube last Sunday.

Minutes later, I was watching my 16-year old daughter Stephanie line up in the heats of the 400m freestyle at the Olympics Games – the result of seven years of hard training and sacrifice on both our parts.

I’d already had the thrill of seeing the cameras zoom in on my daughter as she paraded around the National Stadium with the Hong Kong team during the Opening Ceremony.

She’s the youngest member of Hong Kong’s Olympic Squad, and has been training and competing since the age of nine.

Stephanie now holds 11 Hong Kong records – nine personal records and two in relay races – and she broke one of these records during her 200m freestyle heats on Tuesday.

For the past year, she has been training intensively in Shenzhen in southern China’s Guangdong province just north of Hong Kong, living at a top Chinese army sports training camp.

It was a new and tough environment, with new friends to make and a new language – in Shenzhen they speak Mandarin, not the Cantonese spoken in Hong Kong – but it’s made a big difference to her performance, allowing her to concentrate on her swimming full-time without distractions.

Learning the language also came in very useful when Chinese Television interviewed her earlier this week; locals watching with me were impressed with her new language skills.

People in Beijing are really friendly and you feel really safe – the police and special Olympic volunteers are all around and ready to help you.

We caught up with Stephanie for dinner on Monday night and learned a little about life in the Olympic village – she’s been having a great time, and one of the highlights so far seems to have been having her photograph taken with US swimming star Ryan Lochte – one of her heroes both in and out of the pool.

So far Stephanie has finished third in her 200m and 400m heats, and her last event is the 800m freestyle tomorrow.

Whatever happens, I’m very, very proud of her, and all her effort has paid off. Wish us luck!

Previous blogs

‘Points to remember’, Christoph Hezel
Tuesday 12th August, 11am

‘Go Beer!’, Rob Metcalf
Monday 11th August, 3pm