The Games of the XXIX Olympiad were in the far off capital of the Republic of China - Beijing, the IOAPA, with President Héctor Argüelles at the head, decided to organize the traditional reunion. These have been organized for more than 12 years at both Summer and Winter Olympic Games.
The reunion took place in the lecture hall of Beijing High School Number 4, a model school of the Chinese Education system. The IOAPA President organized the meeting in cooperation with the Pierre de Coubertin Committee, which facilitated the contact with the High School Number 4. Invitations were send a couple of months earlier with excellent feedback. Approximately 50 IOA past participants and IOAPA members replied so the expectations were big. On the day of reunion, Hector and I brought refreshments and food and made the room look friendlier. Mr. Guopeng Shi, professor of the High School Number 4, was a big help.
People arrived and the old IOA spirit reemerged. Familiar faces, old friends and new people met each other. Between 40 to 50 people, from all over the world attended and it was nice to see all of those active individuals smiling and having fun. We could truly say that the world was very small. People were exchanging stories and Olympic impressions.The participants were involved with Beijing Olymppic Games in many different ways, therefore there was a very enriching exchange of opinions and perspectives about the Games. After a while, the President of the IOAPA gave the opening speech and a warm welcome in the name of the IOAPA. Then we took a group photo, of course with a lot of smiles and fun. After the “formal meeting,” most went to a nice traditional Chinese restaurant for dinner. I think we all were amazed with the delicious and tasteful Chinese food – even though some of us were already there for 14 days or more. Afterward we went to downtown Beijing for a drink. The whole evening was fantastic! These meetings at the Olympic Games, are very beneficial. On the one hand, you see all your old friends from Olympia, and on the other, you meet many new people that make your friendship network even bigger, which is very important for many of us. All I can say – Let´s keep the spirit moving on!
Marko Levovnik. IOAPA Country co-ordinator. Beijing, August 2008