Beijing 2008 Olympic GamesThursday, July 10. 2008
The 2008 Beijing Olympic Games will begin on August 8, 2008, and will run for 16 days. Throughout this period, athletes from 203 National Olympic Committees will compete in 28 sports to win 302 gold medals. All these competitions will be held at 37 venues. Six of them are located outside of Beijing in the city of Hong Kong for equestrianism, Qingdao for sailing, and Shanghai, Tianjin, Qinhuangdao and Shenyang for football preliminaries, whereas the remaining 31 are all in Beijing, including 12 new venues, 11 renovated venues and 8 temporary venues.
The Beijing National Stadium will be the site of the opening and closing ceremonies, as well as the athletics events and soccer finals. The Chinese government has promoted the games to highlight China's emergence on the world stage and has newly built 12 venues, renovated 11, temporary built eight with a grand total of 37 venues hosting the events. Earlier in 2007, former IOC president Juan Antonio Samaranch had said that he believes that the Beijing games will be "the best in Olympic history."
The Chinese capital Beijing won the right to host the Games of the XXIX Olympiad over Istanbul (TUR), Osaka (JPN), Paris (FRA) and Toronto (CAN) back in 2001. The concept and design of the bid was centred on the “Olympic Green” area to the north of the city centre. This site – much of which has remained reserved for sport since 1992 – will contain the Olympic Village and venues for 15 sports, including the Olympic Stadium and Aquatics Centre.
The opening ceremony of the Olympics in Beijing will be held in the Beijin National Stadium, and begin at 08:08:08pm CST (12:08:08 UTC) on the 8th of August 2008. It has been announced that Canada's Celion Dion and Taiwan's Jay Chou would perform during the opening ceremony.
It is estimated that about five hundred thousand (500,000) to five hundred and fifty thousand (550,000) foreign visitors will go to Beijing during the Olympic Games. Fifty thousand (50,000) of them will be members of the Olympic family, and about two hundred and sixty thousand (260,000) to three hundred and twenty thousand (320,000) visitors will be spectators. They will be joined by about one hundred and fifty thousand (150,000) to two hundred thousand (200,000) regular visitors. In view of these, visitors' accommodation has become a concern.
Like the Five Olympic Rings from which they draw their color and inspiration, Fuwa will serve as the Official Mascots of Beijing 2008 Olympic Games, carrying a message of friendship and peace -- and good wishes from China -- to children all over the world.
Designed to express the playful qualities of five little children who form an intimate circle of friends, Fuwa also embody the natural characteristics of four of China's most popular animals -- the Fish, the Panda, the Tibetan Antelope, the Swallow -- and the Olympic Flame. Each of Fuwa has a rhyming two-syllable name -- a traditional way of expressing affection for children in China. Beibei is the Fish, Jingjing is the Panda, Huanhuan is the Olympic Flame, Yingying is the Tibetan Antelope and Nini is the Swallow.
When you put their names together -- Bei Jing Huan Ying Ni -- they say "Welcome to Beijing," offering a warm invitation that reflects the mission of Fuwa as young ambassadors for the Olympic Games. Fuwa also embody both the landscape and the dreams and aspirations of people from every part of the vast country of China. In their origins and their headpieces, you can see the five elements of nature -- the sea, forest, fire, earth and sky -- all stylistically rendered in ways that represent the deep traditional influences of Chinese folk art and ornamentation.
The Australian team will number approximately 435 athletes with the goal of finishing in the top five nations on the medal table.
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