Hi, Mitch Albom here.
I'm writing to you from
I'm also excited to share this because it is a small piece of what will be available on my website in the coming months. I've been working for some time now to revamp www.mitchalbom.com to be a real home for a community of readers and fans that are so important to me. You've shared so much over the years and given me the chance to open up to you about my life and work, and my new site will be the place for us to come together and share our stories and opportunities to give back. It will also be a place to access my books, columns, radio and TV work and even personal adventures in a way that will keep us always talking and ever growing. I'll be sure to send more when it's up.
Thanks for reading and, as always, for your support.
Why make this Olympic journey?
Because I've never been here.
Because you can't have a conversation in
Because there is a Starbucks at the airport but armed guards on highway overpasses.
Because there is no bigger country undergoing a bigger change anywhere on the planet.
Because this is the culture that invented paper, the compass and gunpowder.
Because exactly 100 years ago, it ushered in its last emperor, who was 2 years old.
Because I still remember Nixon's trip.
Because when I was in grade school, this place was crushing freedom with its Cultural Revolution.
Because when I was already out of college, this place was meeting college students with tanks in
Because people here who do what I do can end up in jail.
Because of the Great Wall.
Because of the
Because of Taoism, Genghis Khan, the Ming Dynasty and Mao Tse-tung.
Because it's historic.
The mystery of
Because my first Summer Olympics, in 1984, were also the first Summer Olympics for
Because today, less than a quarter century later,
Because, like 1936
Because I want to see whether they are, as some alarmists claim, the enemy.
Because I want to show them, in my own small way, that we are not.
Because of this number: 1.3 billion.
Because if you took out all the people who had finally reached middle-class status, you'd still have a billion who hadn't.
The spirit of competition
Because it's the Olympics.
Because I want to see whether Michael Phelps can do it.
Because I want to see whether Dara Torres can do it.
Because the Games indeed have grown bloated and corrupt, but the magnifying glass for that is watching on TV; in person, the Games always look different, smaller, more personal, better.
Because I want to witness how Yao Ming is treated in his house.
Because if you diss and dismiss the Games by saying, "Everyone's on drugs," then the drug users win. And there are still enough honest athletes who don't deserve that.
Because I want to see whether LeBron,
Because the idea of the Olympics is still the best idea in the world of sports.
Because it still matters.
Because the older I get, the more I want to see something I didn't expect — something that can jolt or delight in a new way.
And because you get that feeling when you see the athletic world marching into a stadium together, holding up flags and waving.
All of this is my answer to the question I have been asked over and over during the last few weeks: "Why are you bothering to go to
Because I'm lucky enough to get the chance.
Let's see what we can find out together.