The Summer Olympics Games are wrapping up in Beijing, China.
Many athletes had completed their games and have returned home to their
respective countries. Some stay on to watch the rest of the games and to tour
the capital of China. Among them is Bob or Khankham Malaythong, the first
Lao-American Olympian. In a follow-up
interview by VOA via telephone from Beijing, Bob talked about his competition
and experience in his first Olympics. Bob is number one in the US team and
ranks 19th in the world's standing in men's double Badminton.
To compete in the Olympics is the ultimate dream of all
athletes. Many of them, from around the globe, dream of reaching that high and
of getting medals in the Olympics, any medal. Bob's dream came true once he
arrived in Beijing, on August 2nd , 2008, to prepare for the matches
of his life. Bob told VOA that he felt fine when he arrived in Beijing despite
the long flight and he never got sick although the weather was hot and it
rained for few days. Talking about the impressive Olympic Village, he said "It had
everything including medical teams, and the foods are good. I was treated for
my shoulder pain and had to take some medicine to get ready for the games. I
practiced very hard, twice a day for four hours. They treated us like heroes here."
Bob Malaythong and Howard Bach, the US team in men's double
badminton, won over South Africa and advanced to the semifinals to face,
unfortunately, the best of the world – the Chinese team.
Bob said, "We met stronger opponents than we had expected. we made it in the quarterfinals and lost to
China in the semifinals. It's OK, we gave all we had. The Chinese played their
very best. I thought we had a chance, but we just couldn't deliver that day.
Our coach told us that we were too tense when we played the Chinese in that
Bob said he has learned a lot in this summer Olympics, and
will bring this experience to work with his badminton students. He has already
been offered a job to coach in Boston, Massachusetts, when he returns home. "I
am very proud to be the first Lao-American athlete to have come this far. I
have not only made a name for myself, but also for my family, my community and my
country. And I am grateful for the opportunity to be a part of Team USA."
Will he be competing in the next Olympics? Bob's reply was
that he would rather coach a team that will bring home a gold medal. His advice
to future Badminton players? "Try your best and be the best that you can. If
you want to be a good athlete then start very early while you were young like
myself, I came to the United States of America when I was only 8 years old. My
brother-in-law put me through this hard work of practicing badminton 4 days a
week. Keep practicing and you will eventually get better, better
You've just got to start really young."
Bob would also like to participate and play for the Lao
national team in the upcoming 25th SEA Games that Laos will host in
late 2009. "I don't think it will be any problem for me. I'll be starting a new
job as a coach in September, but if they allow me to take some time off, then I'll go play for the Lao team, and
again I play men's double. I am not sure that I will have a partner who can
play well with me, unless they send someone over to practice with me in
America. Then we can go from there."
"As for this summer Olympics, I am proud to represent
America and the Lao community as well. I'm sorry not to be able to deliver a
medal, although I gave all I could," Bob concluded.
Listen to an interview with Olympian by clicking audio files above.