The Olympic countdown has cracked the 500-day mark, sparking a renewed burst
of "Games fever" among many Chinese people.
Thousands of Beijing residents convened at the signature Tian'anmen Square on
Sunday to test their endurance in the Beijing Spring International Long Distance
On the same day, another 10,000 Beijingers took part in an 18-kilometer walk
in the Beijing International Long-distance Walking Carnival in Beijing's
There are still another 40 cultural and sports events planned for the
remainder of March in Beijing.
Table tennis enthusiasts can sharpen their ping-pong skills in a city-wide
competition, which started two weeks ago.
People in Chongwen District will be given free tutoring in tai chi, martial
arts and social dance.
Qingdao, in East China's Shandong Province, the co-host city for the sailing
event, marked the historical moment with a gala event, where people shared their
stories of how they got involved with the Games.
Hong Kong celebrated the opening of its 50th Festival of Sport last Sunday
with a special equestrian performance, geared towards promoting Hong Kong as key
host to the event in 16 months time.
The milestone countdown also gained lots of exposure on almost every TV
channel and newspapers nationally.
China's commitment to the Olympic spirit has even drawn praise from the
Games' heaviest hitters, including International Olympic Committee President
"When walking through the streets of Beijing, the pride and enthusiasm of its
people is palpable," Rogge said.
He applauded Beijing's "great progress in venue construction", while
stressing the need for strong focus on this summer's 26 test events.
Many of China's Olympic hopefuls, such as star hurdler Liu Xiang and table
tennis player Wang Liqin, vowed to brush up on their skills during the Games
(China Daily 03/28/2007 page4)