3) Logistics. On the whole, they've worked pretty well. In particular, the new subway line 10 has been a godsend for getting people to the main Olympic venue. Sometimes line 10 shuts down earlier than the Olympic events do, but that's a detail. And the young volunteer guides are numerous, friendly, and eager to help.
There are three notable exceptions, which I say based not just on general reports but on repeated personal experience with all of them.
- Food. Spectators are searched for food and drink on the way into the venues, and any consumable item is confiscated. (After previous confiscation episodes, my wife got away with smuggling a small Toblerone bar into a stadium. The guard held it up skeptically and asked what it was. "Medicine," she said in Chinese. He made her taste some, which she did quickly without letting him look too closely at it -- and got through.)
The problem is, it is very difficult to find much else inside. The relatively abundant food stands sell snack-junk only: potato chips, popcorn, sweet rolls, ice cream cones, plus cheap beer and Coke. I have not yet seen even one spectator at a venue consuming anything heartier -- say, sandwich, hotdog, you name it. Is McDonald's, the monopoly fast-food sponsor, responsible? It has a huge central outlet on the Olympic Green, but not any at the sporting venues. Some other business obstacle? I don't know. Believe me, I'm not the only one to notice.
Update: Indeed, I see that the WSJ also covered this story in its Aug 13 edition, in a dispatch by Sky Canaves and Geoffrey Fowler. Sample: "China is famous for its culinary treasures, but its Olympics are starting to be known as a dining disaster... At many [venues], all that's for sale are saltine crackers, dry instant noodles (no hot water provided), plain bread rolls and potato chips."