Beijing Olympics 01-18-2006 16:10

It's been four years since Beijing was chosen to host the 2008 Olympic Games, and as each day passes, the city gets closer to lighting the torch at the opening ceremonies. Before the Athens Games last year, there was a joke that Beijing was already better prepared than Greece. But as 2005 draws to a close, how have preparations been going?

One World, One Dream

"One World, One Dream" --- for decades to come, these four simple words will be unmistakably linked to the 2008 Olympic Games. They were first uttered as official slogan of the 2008 Games in the capital on June 26th this year.

"One world, One dream" was selected from 210-thousand proposals in Chinese, English, French and Spanish, from all over the world. According to the Games organizers, "One World, One Dream" represents the spirit of sportsmanship and projects an exciting image of Beijing to the rest of the world.

Liu Qi, BOCOG President, said One World, One Dream is an embodiment of the wisdom of hundreds of thousands of people. It is a slogan that conveys the lofty ideals of people in Beijing as well as in China to share the global community and civilization and to create a bright future hand in hand with people from the rest of the world."

The slogan shifted the focus from the city itself to the three concepts of the 2008 Games -- Green Olympics, High-tech Olympics and the People's Olympics. With this new slogan China is hoping the 2008 Olympics will secure its place in sporting history.

Venues under construction

August 8th marked the three year countdown to the Beijing Olympics, and the city was abuzz with the hum of chainsaws and construction work. When construction began on the Beijing University of Technology Gymnasium at the end of September, all 11 new competition venues had begun construction.

Besides the new buildings, 11 require renovation or expansion and 9 will be temporary facilities. In addition, 41 training venues and five other facilities directly related to the Games will also be needed.

The Beijing Municipality has made great efforts to fine-tune and optimize the layout of the venues throughout the year. The projects will take into consideration the combination of functionality, environmental friendliness and artistic design.

Five Friendlies unveiled

The long-anticipated mascots for the Beijing Olympics were finally unveiled in the capital on November 11th. Rather than go with one, two or even three, the organizing committee chose five figures as symbols of the 2008 Games. The day also marks the 1,000-day countdown to opening of the Beijing Games.

The "Five Friendlies" are Beibei the Fish, Jingjing the Panda, Huanhuan the Olympic Flame, Yingying the Tibetan Antelope, and Nini the Swallow. When these names are put together, they say Bei Jing Huan Ying Ni, which means "Welcome to Beijing".

Liu Qi, BOCOG President, said like our friends from other countries around the world, we are looking forward to a merry meeting in Beijing. Throughout the next 1,000 days, we shall strive for perfection, and take potent and practical measures in games preparation, so as to meet our goal of staging a high level Olympic Games with distinguishing features.

Designed by renowned artist Han Meilin, the cute figures are in the colors of the five Olympic rings and embody the Olympic spirit and characteristics. Experts say they also reflect the traditional Chinese concern for harmony between man and nature.

IOC President Jacques Rogge says the spectacular Games staged by Athens set a new standard for Beijing. But he also says he has no concerns whatsoever that China is up to the task. As we enter 2006, China is in the last phase of preparation work. For the country, hosting the Olympics is not just about sport. It's a symbol of its new image in the world


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