boycotted the beijing games. from national treasure to enemy of the state. goon. i'm cynthia mcfadden in new york. tonight, joined by my coanchor bill weir from london. he's been there for the opening ceremonies of the twchl olympic games. i just want to say, we're all jealous back here. what a show. >> my friend, i don't want to rub it in, but if you could be on this town in this night. this was seven years, 40 million dollars in the making and boy did it show. interesting four years ago we got a sample of chinese greats. tonight it was all about british intelligence. their cultural contributions from this island nation over the
centuries here. danny boyle who won an oscar for slum dog millionaire who brought the world train spotting and 28 days later, this may be his crowning achievement. it began with a lush island villages. transformed by a bit of kenneth bra that shakespeare and industrial revolution. rivers form rings, olympic rings that rise in spark in the london night. and in a sweeping rambling narrative, danny boyle gave tribute to james bond and the queen to harry potter and the national health care system, even mr. bean and the investor of the internet.
♪ >> reporter: and then hours after the history lesson began, the former british colleague known as america entered powerful and beaming. watched as the moving kal dron sculpture was lit by young athletes nominated by british medalist pastd. passing the tor toch a new generation. plenty of locals never thought things would go back this way. but somehow, everybody went up on schedule. still in typical british fashion, when they started to feel good about things r, something embarrassing would happen. not enough security guards. young korean flag at a soccer game. tough for the world to get around in a city layed out in the middle ages, so they insisted london reserve special lanes for dignitaries. they are furious about the gridlock and touching down at heathrow airport, it was reasonable to expect to land.
i say we take it. if we get pulled over, you can tell them i'm michael phelps or something. and there are similar frustrations with fans, official ticket seller for americans had a six-hour line. some families got nar tickets they had been seated on opposite sides of the arena. >> we had some volleyball tickets four of them are together, they're not beside each other. >> she got on the computer and was able to get it. >> i got archery, and beach volleyball. >> are any of those your favorite sports? >> no. >> they are now. but one fan who had no trouble getting tickets first lady michelle obama who began the morning by hosting one of his
signature let's move events. inspire a generation of dangerously obese kids to get off the couch. >> it's amazing to think that those athletes that we'll be cheering for over the next couple weeks, they started out running around in the yard. >> that's the point. >> you are trying to change the has be habits of a generation. >> it's tough for kids to get the kind of exercise. if you don't live in a community whether it's athletic facility, free parks or safe places to play in the community, it's hard to change that scenario. >> what would your eolympic event be. >> oh, gosh. >> if you could have your fantasy, what would you play. >> complete fantasy i would be a jimmy. but come on, 511 frj i tried when i was younger. but i loved gymnastics. i was in awe of what those women would do and men, the strength to combine everything, dance,
and strength and acrobatics, but that's really a fantasy. if we get to something that's a little more realistic, maybe it would be track. i would like to think i was tags. >> reporter: distance, sprinter? >> sprinter. you saw me. it's longer than that, no. i have to stick with the sprint. >> reporter: finally, missy frankly is from aurora, colorado. what are your thoughts a week after that happened. >> our hearts go out to the entire community when something like that happens, it impacts the entire community. it affects the country. hopefully these olympics will give the family something else to look at, so remember, you know, why we're all here. >> reporter: and first lady is here all alone. the daughters back moving at camp in the states. she said she'll take in a little
swimming, basketball and tennis while she's here and now we're underway, no more wait. it's time to get into the human drama of all these athletes coming together in peaceful harmony for the next fortnight plus. we'll have a little bit more later in the show. >> thanks, bill. but up next, does practice really make perfect? we meet the man who is spending tens of thousands of hours putting that to the test. whoa, look at all those toys.
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one professor swears anyone can do it if they put in the hours, ten thousands hours to be specific. neil karlinsky, meets the man trying to find out if practice does make perfect. >> reporter: never mind the skragly grounds keeper exterior, the fact that he's playing golf in the rain, or thaechb she cuts his own hair without a mirror. >> i do it myself. >> dan is out to prove and listen carefully to this, that anyone can be a master of virtually anything. >> i'm the first to try after 140 attempts. >> reporter: sports, music the art dancing he can be among the best on the planet if you follow a very strict but relatively simple plan. >> my name is dan and i'm trying to be a professional golf we are. >> reporter: he calls it is dan plan and sit ridiculously ambitious. the photographer with no golf
experience quit his job taking pictures of dental equipment, saved his money, and now does nothing but golf. a minimum of six hours a day, six days a week, year round. why are you doing this. >> proving to myself what's possible and in the larger sense, hopefully demonstrating to people that they don't have to feel limited in a way that i am a creative person. i'm not a math person or i'm not good at geography. are you really not good at it or is it just you tell yourself that so you don't have to try and it perpetuates the cycle? >> reporter: the theory is it takes ten thousands hours of practice to become an expert at something. ibm made popular by the malcolm glad well outliars. >> research up to this point has been unable to pinpoint any genes necessary for someone to reach the very highest level of performance. >> reporter: it's nurture triumphanting over nature and to
prove it no one has gone as far as dan. but first, he needed a coach. >> i joked with him. you could have choenz something easier by bowling or something. you know, other than golf. golf is a hugely challenging endeavor, really not physical ways to some extent but emotionally and mental. >> reporter: coach christopher blew dan off until he saw how determined he was playing through freezing rain, never taking a day off. he started with just one club, a putter and he spent an entire month, no more than three feet from the hole. >> that three feet was as far as i got away. >> reporter: what did you think at this point this is a nightmare. >> for a little while i didn't know what i got myself into. >> reporter: he stuck with it. documenting every stroke on video for his website. gradually adding clubs and working his way up to his first full round of golf. he's now 3,000 hours in, more than two entire years of his
life. >> i'll always do it. >> reporter: not half way through. >> does it get ma not nous. >> it's a job like any job. you have good and bad days. >> reporter: to save money, he lives like a monk. he has two pairs of pants and uses his car as a locker. as his story caught on, nike donated clubs and shoes. >> are you getting any good? >> i mean, i'm really hard on myself. i think that i'm nowhere near -- of course i'm nowhere near where i need to be or want to be. i'm single-digit handy cap which every golfer doesn't get that. >> reporter: at his first tournament, fellow golfers couldn't believe he's a beginner. >> he is doing quite a bit better than i am. >> dan says he doesn't have a particular interest in golf. he chose it over other per suits because it's even a concrete way to prove success or failure. >> 86. >> reporter: he still has
roughly five years to go. >> there's no reason why you can't continuously improve. >> reporter: if the dan plan does work, and he makes it to the pga, he says the first thing he'll do is put down his club, move on, and look for a new challenge. i'm neal karlinsky for "nightline" in portland. >> fascinating. next, he's built the iconic bird's nest olympic stadium in beijing. why is china trying to silence him? te from sprint is now available in white. ♪ ♪ will i catch the moon ♪ like a bird in a cage? [ male announcer ] evo lets you hear what you love with beats audio. and capture what you love with both video and stills. [ camera shutter clicks ] it's everything you love about evo... in white. available only at sprint stores and sprint.com.
the olympic games is an ho forany country. in 2008, the beijing games brought controversy, especially when a famous chinese artist thumbed his nose at the government. he's been speaking out as his payroll ever since. here is abc's gloria. >> reporter: there is perhaps no more glorious moemts than when it hosts the olympic games. but four years ago, the glory brought scrutiny. the bird's nest stadium, was the centerpiece of those games. it was this man, the well known artist ai weiwei known to china's andy war hole who helped
design the bird's nest. he did a surprising thing, he walked away, boycotting the olympics and accusing the chinese government using the games as propaganda. since the olympics he transform himself as one of the most outspoken critics. he has been beaten, prosecuted. he lives under constant surveillance. the man china want's silenced sat down wus at his home and studio in an art district in beijing. >> reporter: you don't know if there could be a knock at the door. >> my moment. >> he speaks fluid english and once lived in america, he's soft spoken. outside his studio up and down the streets are cameras put in place by chinese authorities to watch his every move. >> reporter: how many cameras? >> all 15 cameras. they know you're here today. >> his twitter feed is blocked in china, but it's his weapon of choice. it was the heart breaking earthquake that shook china in
2008 that spurred ai weiwei to action. more than 68,000 people died, many of them children who schools collapsed around them. >> just let us know how many people are dead. who are they. >> in 2009, chinese police paid him a visit at 3:00 a.m. ai weiwei's own camera rolled in the dark as he got punched in the head. >> the only way to win the battle is to let the world know what's happening. >> reporter: so how did it get to this? how does an artist become an enemy of state? the new film ai weiwei never sorry seeks to answer that question. >> they call him online. eye god. that's a very dangerous description in china. >> this director followed ai weiwei for three years. >> i don't think he ever was safe. i don't think he's safe now. >> reporter: the confrontation brewing between ai weiwei and the government reached a dangerous tipping point in eight, 2007, 2011 when he was
taken into secret detention. but the government accused him of pornography and tax evasion and held him for 81 days. when he was finally released, he was shaken. >> you can't talk? you're not allowed to talk. >> i'm on probation. >> more than a year after he returned home, it's still hard to talk about. >> you have no lawyer. you cannot contact your family. you believe your story will never be heard. >> but it was. thousands of chinese fans donated more than $1 million towards his $2.4 million tax fine. after his release, ai weiwei returned to twitter and to his studio. he's biggest insent sieve for staying out of trouble a three--year-old son he adores. he says he won't stop his fight until after the beating, after the detainment. none of this has stopped you. >> i don't think they can win. i never think they can win.
not a second. >> reporter: why not? >> i think people's desire for liberty, for happiness, for freedom, nobody can stop it. >> reporter: for that, ai weiwei is never sorry. for "nightline," i'm gloria riviere ra in beijing. >> our thanks to gloria. ai weiwei never sorry, opens in select cities today nationwide next friday. now back to london for a final thought from bill weir. >> reporter: here is a little good oe men, this morning a south korean archer set a world record though she is legally blind. i'll be here the entire time bringing them to you, starting tomorrow on "good morning america." we take a look at this men's u.s. swimming team. they are loaded. >> thanks so much, bill. thank you for watching abc news. "jimmy kimmel live" is next. have a great weekend.