Sports/Olympics / 2008 Beijing Olympics

Beijing Olympic planners make marathon effort
By Lei Lei (China Daily)
Updated: 2006-08-08 05:56

Led by renowned US film director Steven Spielberg, a group of artists, experts and professors from both home and abroad will act as cultural and artistic advisers. Among them will be Australian Richard Birch, who directed the highly-praised opening and closing ceremonies of the 2000 Sydney Olympics, and Yves Pepin, president of French company ECA2.

As revealed by Liu, the opening ceremony will be based around the theme "One World, One Dream" and convey the friendship of Chinese people to the whole world.

"Our opening ceremony should show Beijing to be a friendly and harmonious city for people from all over the world," Liu said. "We should show the face of the Chinese people by displaying both traditional Chinese culture and the modern development of the city. There should be several highlights for people to remember.

"The rough plan will be worked out by the end of this year."

Besides the ceremonies, the torch relay is also an important activity which attracts attention from every corner of the world.

The torch relay plan has been approved by IOC with the route covering 26 foreign cities on five continents, and 70 cities in China. The torch relay will also see the flame being carried to the top of Qomolangma (known in the West as Everest), the world's highest mountain peak.

"Qomolangma is one of the most magnificent landscapes in China and the plan for the torch to reach the top is being made," Liu said. "The torch relay is a good opportunity for people from all over the country to participate in the Games and we will let even more people be torch bearers."

The BOCOG has finished the working plan for the national route of the relay, the risk evaluation of the international route and the total budget. The selection of the design for the torch has come to the second round and the design of the torch relay emblem has reached its final stage.

In the near future, the BOCOG will hold discussions with all the cities and regions the torch relay is expected to cover and sign co-operation agreements with them to confirm the final plan for the relay.

By the end of 2006, the torch relay emblem and the design for the torch will be publicized, while security and promotion plans will be ready. By then, the title sponsor for the relay will also have been decided.

Mass participation

Although these activities already involve large numbers of participants, Liu called on even more people to take part.

"There are several ways to participate in the Olympic Games. Mass participation is expected to be one of the features of the Beijing Games and being a good host is the best way for people to take part in the Games," suggested Liu.

"There are relatively few people actually working for BOCOG or formulating plans, but the 15 million residents of Beijing are part of the process. If we can act as good hosts and create a good image of the city, then we are all participants in the Games."

To be a volunteer is another way to take part, Liu suggested.

"Smiling volunteers represent the best name cards for Beijing," said Liu. "I hope all volunteers can show their sincere smiles to the world."

Though it was launched on June 5, 2005, the "Beijing Olympic Volunteers Programme" will really begin in earnest in the latter half of this month when recruitment begins.

Recruitment will be open to all. People from all over the world who are willing to offer voluntary services for the 2008 Games are welcome to apply.

It is estimated that a total of 100,000 volunteers will be needed before and during the 2008 Beijing Games, with 70,000 serving the 2008 Summer Olympics and 30,000 the Paralympics.

Low-price tickets

To allow more people to enjoy the Olympic competitions, low ticket prices have been promised by the organizers.

"The price policy for the tickets should be in accordance with the real situation of China, so the prices should be suitable for most normal citizens," Liu promised.

"Except the opening and closing ceremonies and a few key competitions, most of the ticket prices will be low to meet the needs of people. Students are also expected to benefit from special low-price tickets."

According to Liu, there will be nearly 9 million tickets for the 2008 Games. More than 6 million could be marketable.

"The selling of the tickets will be conducted by an appointed supplier and the tickets will be sold to the public from the early half of 2007," Liu added.

(China Daily 08/08/2006 page5)

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