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IOC inspectors nestle in on 'bird's nest'
By Lei Lei (China Daily)
Updated: 2005-06-01 05:34

The National Olympic Stadium, dubbed the "bird's nest" (pictured) because of its unique design, has risen from its foundations to ground level, officials of the 2008 Venues Construction Headquarters said yesterday.

Li Shizhou, in charge of the National Stadium projects, informed an inspection team from the Co-ordination Commission for the Games of the XXIX Olympiad (COCOM) of the construction progress.

A model of China's national Olympic stadium, nicknamed "bird's nest". [newsphoto]
The commission came to Beijing for the fourth meeting of COCOM, which began yesterday and ends Thursday.

"At present, ground-level construction is going on, and 50 per cent of the concrete has been poured," Li said. "The ground structuring will all be finished by the end of June, and before October the concrete structure of all the stands will be done."

The National Stadium, which will hold the opening and closing ceremonies and the track and field events of the 2008 Games, will have a capacity of 91,000, including 11,000 temporary seats.

"From October, the installation of the steel structure will begin, and the entire venue is scheduled to be completed by the end of December 2007," Li said. "At that time, the stadium will be ready for testing events before the Olympic Games."

Construction started in December 2003 but was suspended last July so the design could be revised.

It was changed to integrate more safety, quality, function, time and cost factors. Construction resumed last December.

Led by Kevan Gosper, vice-chairman of the Co-ordination Commission and chairman of the IOC Press Commission, the inspection team also visited the construction site of the National Swimming Centre, also known as the "water cube."

"I feel very excited while visiting the construction sites, as we see new stadia and concrete, which have superb designs," Gosper said.

After the inspection tour, the fourth meeting of COCOM opened yesterday afternoon.

More than 100 officials from COCOM and the Beijing organizing committee (BOCOG) attended the meeting.

Liu Qi, president of BOCOG and also secretary of the Beijing CPC Municipal Committee, pledged at the meeting that Beijing will stage a "high-standard, uniquely characteristic" Olympic Games in 2008.

"The Beijing Olympics will also reach top standards in eight aspects-sports facilities and organization of events, opening ceremonies and cultural activities, media service and publicity, security, service from volunteers, transportation management and life service, image of the city, and the achievements of Chinese athletes," he said.

BOB kicks off

Beijing Olympic Broadcasting Co Ltd (BOB), the host broadcaster of the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games, was also inaugurated yesterday. It was registered as a joint venture between BOCOG and the Olympic Broadcasting Service (OBS) under the International Olympic Committee.

"The inauguration of BOB is another milestone for the broadcasting preparation of the Beijing Games," said Jiang Xiaoyu, BOCOG executive vice-president and chairman of the BOB Board.

(China Daily 06/01/2005 page1)

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