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Beijing Olympics:

One World, One Dream

Bird’s Nest

In an exclusive interview with the Daily News, Ambassador of China in Sri Lanka Ye Dabo outlines Beijing’s preparations for the Games, the venues and China’s hopes for the Games and beyond. The 29th edition of the Summer Olympics will start on August 8.

Q: Beijing 2008 Olympic Games will become the focus of world attention. How is the preparatory work going on now?

A: The Beijing 2008 Olympic Games is approaching. Today marks the 3-day countdown. At present, all the preparatory work, including venue construction, competition organization, media operation, Olympic education and marketing, has been finished.

Some special organizations have already been established to guarantee the smooth operations of the Games, such as Security Coordination Group and Opening and Closing Ceremonies leading Group. “Green Olympics” comes true and people can enjoy the blue sky, fresh air and clean water in Beijing.

The traffic problems are solved. More than 100,000 well-trained volunteers are ready to serve. And over 100,000 policemen and professional security staff as well as the People’s Liberation Army are deployed to ensure the security.

Ambassador Ye Dabo

Everything has been done to welcome the 20,000 athletes, 30,000 media personnel, seven million spectators and more than 80 heads of states or governments. In a word, Beijing is ready for the Olympics. It will welcome people from every corner of the world with smile.

Q: What kind of Olympics, do you expect, will Beijing present to the world?

A:Our promise to the world is that we will hold a high-level Olympic Games with distinguishing features, leaving a unique legacy for China and world sports.

“High-level” means high-level sporting venues, facilities and competition organizations; high-level opening ceremonies and cultural events; high-level media services and favourable press commentary; high-level security work; high-level volunteers and services; high-level transportation and logistics; high-level urban civility and friendliness; and high-level performances by athletes from around the world.

“Distinguishing Features” refer to the Chinese style, cultural splendour and mass participation. The Beijing Olympic Games will fully display China’s 5,000-year history and its culture.

It will fully express the common aspirations of the Chinese people to seek peace, development and common progress together with the peoples of the world.

It will highlight the fact that the 1.3 billion Chinese people of 56 ethnic groups, along with 50 million overseas Chinese, are all enthusiastic participants in the Beijing Olympic Games.

Olympic Mascots

Q: There will be so many athletes gathering in Beijing. Are there enough competition venues? What work has been done in terms of the venue construction?

A: In order to meet the need for stadiums and gymnasiums of the Games, Beijing has built 12 new venues, expanded 11 existing ones and set up eight temporary ones. All of them were completed with good quality.

Bird’s Nest and the Water Cube, namely, the National Stadium and National Aquatics Center, have become the signature buildings for Beijing Olympics.

Q: Just now you talked about the Bird’s Nest and Water Cube. Can you make an introduction to the two buildings?

A: Bird’s Nest will serve as the main venue of the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games. It occupies 21.4 hectares, covering an area of 258,000 square meters. It is 68 meters high and holds 91,000 seats. The opening and closing ceremonies, Athletics and Football events will be held in it.

Water Cube’s Games-time construction area is close to 80,000 square meters, containing 17,000 standard seats, including 6,000 permanent seats and 11,000 temporary ones. During Games, it will produce 42 gold medals in swimming, diving and synchronized swimming.

After the Olympics, it will be converted into a multi-functional facility for sports, culture and recreation. The project’s air cushion structures are the first of their kind to be used in China and the largest and most complicated membrane system in any single project in the world.

Q: The total population in Beijing is about 17 million. Millions of spectators will also go to Beijing during the Olympic period. How can China solve the traffic problem ?

A:Traffic jams used to be a big headache for the people in Beijing. With a view to ensuring smooth transportation, Beijing has implemented a “Transportation Strategic Plan” for the Games. The Plan promotes public transport and provides special traffic lanes for exclusive Olympic use. The city’s underground transport network has also been upgraded.

Right now the “odd-even traffic restrictions” are implemented. Vehicles with plates ending in odd numbers shall be allowed on the road on odd dates and those with plates ending in even numbers shall be allowed on even dates.

People with Olympic tickets can take free rides in buses, subway and light railway. We will make sure the spectators travel freely and smoothly in Beijing.

Q: What measures have been taken to protect the environment in Beijing?

A: A series of measures are taken to make sure that we have “Green Olympics”. Nearly 90% of the public transport have been transformed to use eco-friendly fuels and 20% of the sports venues are power-supplied by wind and solar energy.

A large number of trees have been planted. Many factories that may cause pollution were closed or removed from Beijing.

Q: China was hit by the disastrous earthquake in May. How do you evaluate the impacts on the Beijing Olympics?

A:The strong quake measuring 8.0 on the Richter scale in northwest part of Sichuan Province caused great loss of lives and property. But the Chinese people never give up their efforts for the Olympics.

The courage, perseverance, cohesion and unity of the Chinese nation in fighting against the disaster have encouraged us to do a better job.

Q: Why is it said that the Beijing Olympics meets the aspirations of the Chinese people for the past 100 years? Are there any stories behind this saying?

A:Shortly after the London Olympics in 1908, some students wrote to a magazine entitled Tianjin Youth and asked three questions, namely, “when will China dispatch an athlete to attend the Olympics?” “when will China dispatch a team to attend the Olympics?” and “when will China host the Olympics?”

It took 100 years for the Chinese nation to give satisfactory answers to the three questions. China was represented for the first time by Mr. Liu Changchun in the Los Angeles 1932 Olympics; China dispatched a 40-member team to attend the Helsinki Olympics in 1952 for the first time; China’s Beijing will host the 29th Olympics in August 2008.

I would like to stress that the Olympics is a sports gala of the world. It not only meets the aspirations of the Chinese people for the past 100 years, but also unites the world, inspires people of different faces and races, and ensures the Olympic Games remain the dream for future generations.

Q:What do you think of the support extended by other countries and people towards the Beijing Olympics?

A:During the preparation period, we have been overwhelmed by the good wishes from around the world and moved by the friendship as well as support extended to us.

The International Olympic Committee, the International Sports Federations and National Olympic committees, Sports Ministries, athletes and volunteers in various countries, —they have all made their contributions to the Games. Because they believe, to hold a successful Olympic Games is the shared responsibility of the whole Olympic Family.

Water Cube

We will never forget the people who rendered valuable support during the Olympic Torch Relay on five Continents. We can feel their enthusiasm, their pride, their joy and their expectation towards the Olympiad. We will never forget IOC President Dr. Jacques Rogge and leaders and people of many states who advocate Olympics should not be politicised.

This is to uphold the Olympic Charte. We will never forget the athletes across the world who keep on training over the years. It is the moment they deserve to enjoy the culmination of their hard work and dedication.

We will never forget the Sri Lankan Government, political parties, friendly organisations and media who have also voiced the strong support and wished the Beijing Olympiad a great success. President Mahinda Rajapaksa and Ministers of sports will lead the Sri Lankan sports team to China very soon.

Q:How many programmes are there in the Beijing Olympics?

A:The Games include the 28 summer sports currently on the Olympic programme, comprising 302 events in total.

The Games will introduce some new events such as men’s and women’s 10,000 meter swimming marathon.

The 28 sports are athletics, rowing, badminton, baseball, basketball, boxing, canoe, cycling, equestrian, fencing, football, gymnastics, weight lifting, handball, hockey, judo, wrestling, swimming, modern pentathlon, softball, yaekwondo, tennis, table tennis, shooting, archery, triathlon, sailing and volleyball.

Q:What are the concepts of Beijing Olympics ?

A:Three concepts have been adopted for the Beijing Olympic Games, namely, the Green Olympics, the High-tech Olympics and the People’s Olympics.

Green Olympics: Environmental protection is a key prerequisite for designing and constructing the Olympic Games’ facilities. Environmentally friendly technologies and measures are widely applied in environmental treatment to venues.

Urban and rural afforestation and environmental protection are enhanced in an all-round manner. Citizens are encouraged to make “green” consumption choices and urged to actively participate in various environmental improvement activities.

High-tech Olympics: The latest domestic and international scientific and technological achievements are used. Beijing has upgraded its scientific innovative capabilities, boosting the industrialisation of high-tech achievements and popularising their use in daily life.

The Beijing Olympic Games is to serve as a window to showcase the city’s high-tech achievements and innovative strength.

People’s Olympics: It is an opportunity to advance cultural exchanges, to deepen understanding and friendship between the peoples of the world.

It will be a time to promote healthy interaction between individuals and society and to foster mental and physical health. In line with the “people-oriented” and “athletes-centred” ideas, Beijing will spare no efforts to provide quality services and to build a natural and social environment that will satisfy all the participants.

Q:What is the theme slogan of the Beijing 2008 Olympics?

A:‘One World One Dream’ was unveiled as the theme slogan of the Beijing 2008 Olympics on June 26, 2005.

It is a profound manifestation of the core concepts of the Beijing Olympic Games. It reflects the values of harmony connoted in the concept of “People’s Olympics”. It is our belief that peace and progress, harmonious development, living in amity, cooperation and mutual benefit are the common ideals of the people throughout the world.

It is simple in expressions, but profound in meaning. It conveys the lofty ideal of the Chinese people and the people from all over the world. It voices the aspirations of 1.3 billion Chinese people to contribute to the establishment of a peaceful and bright world.

The English translation of the slogan is distinctive in sentence structure. The two “One”s are perfectly used in parallel, and the words “World” and “Dream” form a good match. The slogan is simple, meaningful, inspiring, and easy to remember and read.

Q:What are the official mascots of the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games ?

A:Fuwa serves 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.

Fuwa also embodies the natural characteristics of four of China’s most popular animals — the Fish, the Panda, the Tibetan Antelope, the Swallow — and the Olympic Flame.

Beibei is the Fish (blessing of prosperity; blue), Jingjing is the Panda (lush forest and the harmonious relationship between man and nature; black), Huanhuan is the Olympic Flame (the Olympic Flame and the passion of sports; red), Yingying is the Tibetan Antelope (reflects Beijing’s commitment to a Green Olympics; yellow) and Nini is the Swallow (good luck, Beijing’s ancient name: Yanjing; green). The colours of the Fuwa represent the five rings of the Olympic Emblem.

When you put their names together — Bei Jing Huan Ying Ni — they say “Welcome to Beijing”.

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.

Q: What are the advantages for Beijing to host the 2008 Olympics ?

A: There are many advantages for Beijing to host the 2008 Olympics. I would like to just cite some of them. China is a country with the largest population. It is stable in terms of politics and social security. China’s sports cause has witnessed great progress.

Beijing is a famous historic and cultural city in the world. The Chinese Government and people support Beijing to host a high-level Olympics with distinguishing features. Beijing has the capability to host a successful Olympiad.

Beijing has rich experiences in hosting large events. Beijing has the facilities to host the Games.

Q:How many co-host cities are there in the 2008 Olympics ? What are they?

A: There are six co-host cities of the Beijing Olympics. They are Tianjin (for football matches), Qinghuangdao (for football matches), Shanghai (for football matches), Shenyang (for football matches), Qingdao (for sailing event) and Hongkong (for equestrian event).

Q: How many gold medals did China win at the 28th Olympics? How many in total has China won in the history? How many gold medals is the Chinese team expecting to win this year?

A:China won 32 gold medals at the 28th Olympics and ranked 2nd in the gold medal list just after the US which got 35 gold medals. Altogether China secured 112 gold medals since the Los Angeles Olympics in 1984.

The 2008 Olympics is special for the Chinese athletes, because Beijing is the host city. A Chinese Olympic delegation of 1099 members, among which 639 are athletes, has been established.

This is the largest one in Chinese history and they will participate in all the competitions of 28 Olympic sports.

The Chinese team will try their best to gain as many medals as possible. At the same time, we believe the most important thing in the Games is not the triumph but the struggle; not to have conquered but to have fought well, and the athletes must learn to respect and to cooperate with people from many nations.

Q:What would you say to the Sri Lankan sports team for the Beijing Olympiad?

A: Sri Lanka is a country of rich sporting legacy. As early as in 1948 when the country gained independence, Duncan White brought home a Silver Medal from the London Olympics for the 400-metre hurdles event. Since then, the Sri Lankan sporting heroes have once and again made your country and people proud in a series of regional and international Games.

To my knowledge, eight athletes have been chosen to represent Sri Lanka at the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games.

Susanthika Jayasinghe, Captain of the 8-member contingent, won a Silver Medal in the women’s 200-metre sprint event at 2000 Sydney Olympics.

I believe, together with the whole team, she will give the Sri Lankan people another chance to realize the dream in Beijing.

The spirits of unity, friendship, progress, harmony, and fair play will be fully demonstrated during the Games.


Gamin Gamata - Presidential Community & Welfare Service
Ceylinco Banyan Villas
Mount View Residencies
Project Director - MSL
LANKAPUVATH - National News Agency of Sri Lanka
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