'Now I just want to return to my old life. I need a rest'

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 28 August, 2008, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 28 August, 2008, 12:00am

It was great while it lasted, but Beijingers have met the end of their seven-year Olympic road this week with a collective sigh of relief.

'The Olympics were fun, but now I just want to return to my old life. I need a rest,' said retiree Zhang Yiwen 65.

Although sports psychologists say feelings of depression and self-doubt are common among athletes returning home after the world's biggest sporting event, few residents of the host city appear to be suffering from an Olympic hangover.

'Finally I don't have to work at the weekends, and I can relax!' said a weary Li Hongguo, a local government official in Dongcheng district, who spent the past three weekends pounding the streets looking for potential troublemakers.

Other locals were keen to get back to work, and even university students - who know how to party with abandon - recognise it is time to return to the grindstone. 'Sure, I'll miss the atmosphere of the Olympics. But now that it's over, I need to concentrate on studying again,' said Wang Xin, 20.

Living in an Olympic host city also meant other inconveniences, such as higher food prices, traffic restrictions and commuting headaches. Those will not be missed either.

After all the preparation and the 17 days of the biggest international event in China's history, the mood in the city may best be summed up by a promotional blurb for a party at trendy nightspot Club Obiwan.

'Thank God it's OVER!' the blurb screams. 'We can now all finally get back to normal life in Beijing [whatever that is]!'