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Date: August 25, 2008
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Related materials from ESL Discussions.com on China the Olympics and Michael Phelps.

THE ARTICLE

Record-setting Beijing Olympics end

The 29th Olympic Games ended in Beijing on Sunday night with a spectacular closing ceremony. Over 7,000 performers and a breathtaking fireworks display entertained the crowd of 90,000 in the famous Bird’s Nest stadium. It has truly been one of the most memorable Olympics ever. China’s leaders will feel they have fulfilled their goal to show the world what China can achieve. Numbers tell part of the Beijing story. The record $40-billion games officially started on 08.08.2008, at eight minutes past eight – the number 8 brings luck in China. Altogether, 11,028 athletes qualified from 204 different countries. A record number of 88 countries won medals, with 122 athletes winning more than one. The USA’s Michael Phelps and Jamaica’s Usain Bolt set 10 world records between them.


 
 

The president of the Beijing Organizing Committee, Liu Qi, summed up his feelings on the Games in his closing speech. He said: “The past 16 days have witnessed superb athletic performances and sportsmanship. Athletes…have competed in the Games in the Olympic spirit. They have…achieved amazing results by breaking 38 world records and 85 Olympic records.” He added that the Games had brought China closer to the world. “The Beijing 2008 Olympic Games is a grand celebration of sport, a grand celebration of peace and a grand celebration of friendship,” he said. International Olympic Committee president Jacques Rogge echoed Qi’s enthusiasm, saying: "These were truly exceptional Games…The world learned more about China and China learned more about the world.”


 
 

WARM-UPS

1. BEIJING OLYMPICS: Walk around the class and talk to other students about the Beijing Olympics. Change partners often. After you finish, sit with your partner(s) and share your findings.

2. CHAT: In pairs / groups, decide which of these topics or words from the article are most interesting and which are most boring.

 

Beijing / ceremonies / performers / fireworks / memorable / lucky numbers / athletes / superb performances / sportsmanship / results / celebrations / peace / friendship

Have a chat about the topics you liked. Change topics and partners frequently.

3. SUMMING UP: You must give a short presentation on the Beijing Olympics. With your partner(s), make notes on the points below and rate them (10= super successful, 1= a failure). Change partners and share your ideas. Make your presentations to the class.

Points

1-10

Good

Bad

Beijing stadia

 

 

 

Ceremonies

 

 

 

Records

 

 

 

Athletes

 

 

 

Politics

 

 

 

Pollution

 

 

 

4. SPORT: Students A strongly believe the Olympics is better than the football World Cup; Students B strongly believe the World Cup is better than the Olympics. Change partners again and talk about your roles and conversations.

5. OLYMPIC ADJECTIVES: Look at these words from the article. With your partner(s) use them to talk about the Beijing Olympics. Change partners and share your discussions.

  • spectacular
  • breathtaking
  • memorable
  • lucky
  • superb
  • amazing
  • grand
  • exceptional

6. WORLD RECORD: Spend one minute writing down all of the different words you associate with the phrase ‘world record’. Share your words with your partner(s) and talk about them. Together, put the words into different categories.


 
 

BEFORE READING / LISTENING

1. TRUE / FALSE: Look at the article’s headline and guess whether these sentences are true (T) or false (F):

a.

The Beijing Olympic Games set 29 different records.

T / F

b.

An audience of 90,000 people attended the closing ceremony.

T / F

c.

China’s leaders will be unhappy at not achieving more at the Olympics.

T / F

d.

The number eight was an important number in the Beijing Games.

T / F

e.

The organizer of the Games talked about maths in his closing speech.

T / F

f.

Over 100 Olympic records were broken in Beijing.

T / F

g.

The organizer said the Games brought China closer to the world.

T / F

h.

The Olympics president agreed with the comments of the organizer.

T / F

2. SYNONYM MATCH: Match the following synonyms from the article:

1.

spectacular

a.

extraordinary

2

crowd

b.

created

3.

memorable

c.

magnificent

4.

fulfilled

d.

undoubtedly

5.

set

e.

audience

6.

summed up

f.

repeated

7.

witnessed

g.

evaluated

8.

truly

h.

unforgettable

9.

echoed

i.

achieved

10.

exceptional

j.

saw

3. PHRASE MATCH: Match the following phrases from the article (sometimes more than one. combination is possible):

1.

a spectacular closing

a.

his feelings on the Games

2

a breathtaking fireworks

b.

their goal

3.

one of the most memorable

c.

brings luck in China

4.

they have fulfilled

d.

display

5.

the number 8

e.

spirit

6.

Liu Qi summed up

f.

ceremony

7.

superb athletic performances

g.

exceptional Games

8.

the Olympic

h.

more about China

9.

These were truly

i.

Olympics ever

10.

The world learned

j.

and sportsmanship

WHILE READING / LISTENING

GAP FILL: Put the words into the gaps in the text.

The 29th Olympic Games __________ in Beijing on Sunday night with a spectacular closing ceremony. Over 7,000 performers and a breathtaking fireworks __________ entertained the crowd of 90,000 in the famous Bird’s Nest stadium. It has truly been one of the most __________ Olympics ever. China’s leaders will feel they have fulfilled their goal to show the world what China can __________. Numbers tell part of the Beijing story. The record $40-billion games __________ started on 08.08.2008, at eight minutes past eight – the number 8 __________ luck in China. Altogether, 11,028 athletes qualified from 204 different countries. A __________ number of 88 countries won medals, with 122 athletes winning more than one. The USA’s Michael Phelps and Jamaica’s Usain Bolt __________ 10 world records between them.

 

record
officially
memorable
brings
ended
achieve
set
display

The president of the Beijing Organizing Committee, Liu Qi, __________ up his feelings on the Games in his closing speech. He said: “The __________ 16 days have witnessed superb athletic performances and sportsmanship. Athletes…have competed in the Games in the Olympic __________. They have…__________ amazing results by breaking 38 world records and 85 Olympic records.” He added that the Games had brought China __________ to the world. “The Beijing 2008 Olympic Games is a grand celebration of sport, a grand celebration of __________ and a grand celebration of friendship,” he said. International Olympic Committee president Jacques Rogge __________ Qi’s enthusiasm, saying: "These were __________ exceptional Games…The world learned more about China and China learned more about the world.”

 

spirit
 
closer
past
echoed
truly
summed
achieved
peace

LISTENING:  Listen and fill in the spaces.

The 29th Olympic Games ended in Beijing on Sunday ________________ spectacular closing ceremony. Over 7,000 performers and a breathtaking fireworks display entertained the crowd ________________ famous Bird’s Nest stadium. It has ________________ the most memorable Olympics ever. China’s leaders ________________ fulfilled their goal to show the world what China can achieve. Numbers tell part of the Beijing story. The record $40-billion games officially started on 08.08.2008, at eight minutes past eight – the number ________________ China. Altogether, 11,028 athletes qualified from 204 different countries. A record number of 88 countries won medals, ________________ winning more than one. The USA’s Michael Phelps and Jamaica’s Usain Bolt set 10 world records between them.

The president of the Beijing Organizing Committee, Liu Qi, ______________ feelings on the Games in his closing speech. He said: “________________ have witnessed superb athletic performances and sportsmanship. Athletes…have competed in the Games in ________________. They have…achieved amazing results by breaking ________________ and 85 Olympic records.” He added that the Games had brought China closer to the world. “The Beijing 2008 Olympic Games is a grand ________________, a grand celebration of peace and a grand celebration of friendship,” he said. International Olympic Committee president Jacques Rogge echoed Qi’s enthusiasm, saying: "These were ________________ Games…The world learned more about China and China learned more about the world.”


 
 

AFTER READING / LISTENING

1. WORD SEARCH: Look in your dictionaries / computer to find collocates, other meanings, information, synonyms … for the words ‘Olympic’ and ‘spirit’.

Olympic

spirit

 

 

 

  • Share your findings with your partners.
  • Make questions using the words you found.
  • Ask your partner / group your questions.

2. ARTICLE QUESTIONS: Look back at the article and write down some questions you would like to ask the class about the text.

  • Share your questions with other classmates / groups.
  • Ask your partner / group your questions.

3. GAP FILL: In pairs / groups, compare your answers to this exercise. Check your answers. Talk about the words from the activity. Were they new, interesting, worth learning…?

4. VOCABULARY: Circle any words you do not understand. In groups, pool unknown words and use dictionaries to find their meanings.

5. TEST EACH OTHER: Look at the words below. With your partner, try to recall how they were used in the text:

  • 29
  • 90,000
  • 40 billion
  • eight
  • 88
  • 10
  • feelings
  • witnessed
  • closer
  • peace
  • echoed
  • learned

STUDENT BEIJING OLYMPICS SURVEY

Write five GOOD questions about the Beijing Olympics in the table. Do this in pairs. Each student must write the questions on his / her own paper.

When you have finished, interview other students. Write down their answers.

STUDENT 1

_____________

STUDENT 2

_____________

STUDENT 3

_____________

Q.1.

Q.2.

Q.3.

Q.4.

Q.5.

  • Now return to your original partner and share and talk about what you found out. Change partners often.
  • Make mini-presentations to other groups on your findings.

BEIJING OLYMPICS DISCUSSION

STUDENT A’s QUESTIONS (Do not show these to student B)

a)

What did you think when you read the headline?

b)

What springs to mind when you hear the word ‘Olympics’?

c)

Did you like the Beijing Olympics?

d)

What did you think of the opening and closing ceremonies?

e)

What was the most memorable part of the Olympics for you?

f)

Do you think China’s leaders will be happy with the Olympics?

g)

What numbers are lucky in your country, and why?

h)

Which athlete did you most want to win and why?

i)

Are you happy with the performance of the athletes from your country?

j)

Who’s better, swimmer Michael Phelps or sprinter Usain Bolt?

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------

STUDENT B’s QUESTIONS (Do not show these to student A)

a)

Did you like reading this article?

b)

How would you sum up your feelings on the Beijing Olympics?

c)

What did you think of the sportsmanship in Beijing?

d)

What Olympic gold medal would you most like to win?

e)

Do you think the Beijing Olympics brought China closer to the world?

f)

In what way are the Olympics celebrations of friendship and peace?

g)

What did you learn about China in these games?

h)

Did you think about things like pollution and politics during these games?

i)

Do you think the London Olympics in 2012 will be better than the Beijing Games?

j)

What questions would you like to ask International Olympic Committee president Jacques Rogge about the Beijing Games?

LANGUAGE

The 29th Olympic Games ended in Beijing on Sunday night with a spectacular (1) ____ ceremony. Over 7,000 performers and a breathtaking fireworks display entertained the crowd of 90,000 in the famous Bird’s Nest stadium. It has (2) ____ been one of the most memorable Olympics ever. China’s leaders will feel they have (3) ____ their goal to show the world what China can achieve. Numbers tell part of the Beijing story. The record $40-billion games (4) ____ started on 08.08.2008, at eight minutes past eight – the number 8 (5) ____ luck in China. Altogether, 11,028 athletes qualified from 204 different countries. A record number of 88 countries won medals, with 122 athletes winning more than one. The USA’s Michael Phelps and Jamaica’s Usain Bolt (6) ____ 10 world records between them.

The president of the Beijing Organizing Committee, Liu Qi, summed (7) ____ his feelings on the Games in his closing speech. He said: “The (8) ____ 16 days have witnessed superb athletic performances and sportsmanship. Athletes…have competed in the Games in the Olympic (9) ____. They have…achieved amazing results by breaking 38 world records and 85 Olympic records.” He added that the Games had brought China (10) ____ to the world. “The Beijing 2008 Olympic Games is a grand celebration of sport, a grand celebration of peace and a grand celebration of (11) ____,” he said. International Olympic Committee president Jacques Rogge echoed Qi’s enthusiasm, saying: "These were truly (12) ____ Games…The world learned more about China and China learned more about the world.”

Put the correct words from the table below in the above article.

1.

(a)

closure

(b)

close

(c)

closed

(d)

closing

2.

(a)

truth

(b)

true

(c)

truly

(d)

truthful

3.

(a)

filled

(b)

fulfilled

(c)

filling

(d)

full

4.

(a)

officially

(b)

official

(c)

officials

(d)

officialdom

5.

(a)

has

(b)

comes

(c)

brings

(d)

serves

6.

(a)

setter

(b)

settings

(c)

setting

(d)

set

7.

(a)

on

(b)

up

(c)

in

(d)

down

8.

(a)

past

(b)

parts

(c)

passed

(d)

passing

9.

(a)

spiritual

(b)

spirit

(c)

spirituality

(d)

spirits

10.

(a)

closing

(b)

closed

(c)

closer

(d)

closeness

11.

(a)

friendship

(b)

friend

(c)

friendly

(d)

befriended

12.

(a)

exceptions

(b)

exception

(c)

except

(d)

exceptional

WRITING: 

Write about the Beijing Olympics for 10 minutes. Correct your partner’s paper.

_____________________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________

HOMEWORK

1. VOCABULARY EXTENSION: Choose several of the words from the text. Use a dictionary or Google’s search field (or another search engine) to build up more associations / collocations of each word.

2. INTERNET: Search the Internet and find out more about the Beijing Olympics. Share what you discover with your partner(s) in the next lesson.

3. OLYMPICS: Make a poster about the history of the Olympics. What are the key moments of the 29 different Games. Show your work to your classmates in the next lesson. Did you all have similar things?

4. OLYMPIC SPIRIT: Write a magazine article about Olympic spirit. Include imaginary interviews with a Chinese and non-Chinese athlete. How can we bring the Olympic spirit into our lives?

Read what you wrote to your classmates in the next lesson. Write down any new words and expressions you hear from your partner(s).

5. LETTER: Write a letter to International Olympic Committee president Jacques Rogge. Ask him three questions about Beijing. Make three suggestions on what he should do to make the London Olympics in 2012 a bigger success. Read your letter to your partner(s) in your next lesson. Your partner(s) will answer your questions.

6. DIARY / JOURNAL: You are an Olympic athlete. Write about one day in your life at the Beijing Olympics. Read your entry to your classmates in the next lesson.

ANSWERS

TRUE / FALSE:

a. F

b. T

c. F

d. T

e. F

f. T

g. T

h. T

SYNONYM MATCH:

1.

spectacular

a.

magnificent

2

crowd

b.

audience

3.

memorable

c.

unforgettable

4.

fulfilled

d.

achieved

5.

set

e.

created

6.

summed up

f.

evaluated

7.

witnessed

g.

saw

8.

truly

h.

undoubtedly

9.

echoed

i.

repeated

10.

exceptional

j.

extraordinary

PHRASE MATCH:

1.

a spectacular closing

a.

ceremony

2

a breathtaking fireworks

b.

display

3.

one of the most memorable

c.

Olympics ever

4.

they have fulfilled

d.

their goal

5.

the number 8

e.

brings luck in China

6.

Liu Qi summed up

f.

his feelings on the Games

7.

superb athletic performances

g.

and sportsmanship

8.

the Olympic

h.

spirit

9.

These were truly

i.

exceptional Games

10.

The world learned

j.

more about China

GAP FILL:

Record-setting Beijing Olympics end

The 29th Olympic Games ended in Beijing on Sunday night with a spectacular closing ceremony. Over 7,000 performers and a breathtaking fireworks display entertained the crowd of 90,000 in the famous Bird’s Nest stadium. It has truly been one of the most memorable Olympics ever. China’s leaders will feel they have fulfilled their goal to show the world what China can achieve. Numbers tell part of the Beijing story. The record $40-billion games officially started on 08.08.2008, at eight minutes past eight – the number 8 brings luck in China. Altogether, 11,028 athletes qualified from 204 different countries. A record number of 88 countries won medals, with 122 athletes winning more than one. The USA’s Michael Phelps and Jamaica’s Usain Bolt set 10 world records between them.

The president of the Beijing Organizing Committee, Liu Qi, summed up his feelings on the Games in his closing speech. He said: “The past 16 days have witnessed superb athletic performances and sportsmanship. Athletes…have competed in the Games in the Olympic spirit. They have…achieved amazing results by breaking 38 world records and 85 Olympic records.” He added that the Games had brought China closer to the world. “The Beijing 2008 Olympic Games is a grand celebration of sport, a grand celebration of peace and a grand celebration of friendship,” he said. International Olympic Committee president Jacques Rogge echoed Qi’s enthusiasm, saying: "These were truly exceptional Games…The world learned more about China and China learned more about the world.”

LANGUAGE WORK

1 - d

2 - c

3 - b

4 - a

5 - c

6 - d

7 - b

8 - a

9 - b

10 -c

11 - a

12 - d

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