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Directory Of Year 2006, Issue 12
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Fine Tuning the Machine

Year:2006 Issue:12

Column: SERIES

Author: Lu Anqi

Release Date:2006-12-01

Page: 50-53

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September 29, 2006: About 10,000 jogged on the Olympic Keep Fit Road in Shenyang following Olympic medalist Wang Junxia.
by Zhang Wenkui/CFP

September 29, 2006: About 10,000 jogged on the Olympic Keep Fit Road in Shenyang following Olympic medalist Wang Junxia. by Zhang Wenkui/CFP

On Oct. 20, 2006, the Olympic-themed gala, the Splendid Ceremony Xi'an, was held in Xi'an, the city at the eastern-most starting point of the ancient Silk Road. Many international stars of sports and entertainment attended the event, including 10 Chinese Olympic gold medalists, headed up by men's 110-meter hurdles champion Liu Xiang. Gala performers exceeded 3,500 in number, and an additional 1,000 staff members provided support. They were all there to pleasure the eyes and ears of the more than 40,000 spectators who showed up.

Managed by the Beiao Culture and Sports Company, the event producers handling the opening ceremony of the 2008 Olympic Games, and directed by the task-force overseeing the opening and closing ceremonies for the Games, the gala was considered a warm-up for the 2008 opening ceremony.

Subsequent this exercise and two previous test events last autumn, Beijing is improving and refining both hardware and software systems before additional tests in 2007.

Scope of Project

According to BOCOG, the Beijing Games will take place within a total of 37 competition and 76 training venues. Among the 37 competition venues, 31 are located in Beijing, with another six located in the cities of Qingdao (hosting the sailing regatta), Hong Kong (equestrian events), Tianjin, Shanghai, Shenyang and Qinhuangdao.

In the official host city, Beijing, of the 31 competition venues, 12 are being newly built especially for the Games, 11 existing facilities are being expanded and renovated, and eight are temporary. At the time this publication went to press, venues of the first two categories and five of the temporary facilities remained under construction.

In addition to the sporting venues, work is proceeding according to schedule on the National Conference Center, Digital Beijing Building, Olympic Village, Media Village and Olympic Forest Park. Construction of the newly built "Bird Nest," the main stadium venue, has entered the later stage. Its steel structural trusses were removed last September. The major portion of the steel infrastructure for the National Aquatics Center, dubbed as the "Water Cube," was completed and the soap bubble-like membrane exterior is being applied. Renovation work on eight training facilities also commenced. Wang Gang, executive deputy director of the Office of the Beijing 2008 Project Construction Headquarters, said that major work on all Beijing venues would be completed by the end of 2006.

In co-host cities, the Qinhuangdao Olympic Sports Center is complete; and major facilities of the Qingdao Olympic Sailing Center are functioning and have already put to real-time use. The entire sailing center project, including its Olympic Village, is expected to be completed by June 2007.

Competitive Completion

Total construction of all Olympic venues and facilities will be wrapped up by the end of 2007, according to BOCOG.

Following last autumn's test events at the renovated Beijing Chaoyang Sports Center, Beijing Fengtai Softball Field, and the newly-built Qingdao Olympic Sailing Center, Beijing plans to hold more than 40 such trial runs to troubleshoot and perfect operations, event organization, structure and mechanics.

Kicked off in September 2003, the Beijing Olympic marketing plan now enjoys the financial and operational support of 11 IOC partners, as well as 11 Beijing 2008 partners, nine sole sponsors, five sole providers and one provider. At the time this publication went to press, the number of official Olympic franchise retail outlets operating across the nation numbered 248.

To ensure adequate service industry support, BOCOG has inked contracts with 112 hotels, has begun to implement food safety guidelines, and has designated 21 hospitals and a drug testing center as health care and anti-doping facilities.

Message and Mass

A nationwide Olympic education program that began in early 2006 has reached 400 million students attending 350,000 primary and middle schools. Since the start of 2006, China's mainstream media has also dramatically ramped up coverage in prime time news slots, and on the main pages of newspapers, magazines and websites. Virtually every possible piece of news concerning the Olympics has been highlighted, from the intro of the mascots, to the design of the torch and the inception and selection of song and dance arrangements for Olympic volunteers.

Specific press coverage included the worldwide soliciting of a master plan for the opening and closing ceremonies, the two-year countdown to the opening of the Games, news on venue construction, test events, IOC and other international experts' visits and marketing schemes.

The recruitment of volunteers for the Games and Paralympics generated a big buzz in Beijing. By the end of the second day after the recruitment announcement went public, 40,000 had registered, and more than 149,100 people eventually showed up seeking information. By September 28,2006, the number of registered applicants in Beijing surpassed 210,000.

Tang Dynasty (61 8-907) Women's Polo, a performance at the Splendid Ceremony Xi'an, October 20, 2006.
by Qin Miao/CFP

Tang Dynasty (61 8-907) Women's Polo, a performance at the Splendid Ceremony Xi'an, October 20, 2006. by Qin Miao/CFP

Beijing has undergone rapid economic and social development during preparations for the 2008 Games. In 2005, the total output value in Beijing increased by 11.8 percent over the previous year, and per capita GDP reached a record $5,457. Transportation in the city has improved with the construction of many new facilities. Six new roads were installed to accommodate traffic to and from Olympic venues, and another 25 roads and three metro lines are under construction. The number of blue-sky days in Beijing is now averaging 64.1 percent of the year, a 15.7 percent increase over the year 2000. Foliage green coverage in the city is now at 50.5 percent, realizing the goal set for 2008 two years ahead of schedule.

Beijing Olympic Update
Official Name of Mascots Now "Fuwa"
The English translation of the name for the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games mascots has officially changed to "Fuwa," from the previous "Friendlies."
BOCOG Appoints More Advisors for Opening and Closing Ceremonies
The second group of advisors appointed to consult on the opening and closing ceremonies of the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games includes He Zhenliang, honorary chairman of China's Olympic Committee and IOC member, Wu Zuqiang, well-known Chinese music educator, composer and former dean of the Central Conservatory of Music, Ang Lee, the renowned film director, and Zeng Qinghuai, honorary director of the China Cultural City Limited. Of particular note, legendary 73-year-old American composer and musician Quincy Jones also joined the effort.
WADA President visits Beijing
Visiting World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) President Richard William Duncan Pound and BOCOG officers held discussions on bilateral cooperation in anti-doping issues on October 10, 2006. The visiting president expressed his satisfaction with China's anti-doping efforts thus far, saying that China had already achieved established goals.
Forum on Sport Education and Culture
From October 22 to 24, 2006, the 5th World Forum on Sport, Olympic Education and Culture took place in Beijing under the theme "Sport and a World of Harmony: The Role of Olympic Education and Culture." Exchanging views on challenges as well as opportunities, some 700 experts in the field of sports, culture and education from more than 150 countries attended the meet.

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