Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
2008 Summer Olympics
|Games of the XXIX Olympiad|
|Opening ceremony||August 8, 2008|
|Closing ceremony||August 24, 2008|
|Officially opened by||---|
The 2008 Summer Olympics, officially known as the Games of the XXIX Olympiad, will be held in Beijing in the People's Republic of China from August 8, 2008 to August 24, 2008, with the opening ceremony to take place at 8 PM on August 8, 2008 (the number 8 stands for prosperity in Chinese culture). Some events will be held at venues constructed in neighboring towns and at the coastal city of Qingdao. The equestrian events may be hosted at Sha Tin in Hong Kong.
Beijing was elected host city on July 13, 2001, during the 112th IOC Session in Moscow, beating out Toronto, Paris, Istanbul and Osaka. Prior to the session, five other cities submitted bids to the IOC but failed to make the shortlist in 2000: Bangkok, Cairo, Havana, Kuala Lumpur, and Seville.
In the first round of voting, only Beijing, Toronto, Paris, and Istanbul remained; Osaka was eliminated after having received only six votes. In the second round, Beijing received enough votes to grab the absolute majority, and no subsequent rounds of voting were required. The results of the second round were as follows: Beijing garnered 56 votes, Toronto 22, Paris 18, and Istanbul 9 . Although some claimed that the bids from Paris and Toronto were technically superior, the IOC, under Juan Antonio Samaranch, was especially sympathetic and eager to see China, the world's most populous country, play host to the Olympic Movement. While many nations praised the decision, several independent groups objected arguing that China's human rights record made it unfit for the honor. To quell concerns over its dark past, Beijing chose the motto of "New Beijing, Great Olympics" in order to emphasize the country's movement towards new ideals for the new millennium.
Construction of all 2008 Summer Olympics venues is expected to be completed in 2007. The government intends to invest on thirty-seven new gymnasiums and stadiums as well as fifty-nine training centers. Its largest architectural pieces are the National Stadium, National Gymnasium, Olympic Aquatic Park, Convention Center, Olympic Village and Wukesong Cultural and Sports Center. US$2.1 billion or RMB•17.4 billion in corporate bids and tenders are expected to fund almost eighty-five percent of the construction budget for the six main venues. Investments are expected from corporations seeking ownership rights after the 2008 Summer Olympics. Some venues will be owned and governed by the State General Administration of Sports which will use them after the Olympics as facilities for all future national sports teams.
The centerpiece of the 2008 Summer Olympics is the construction of the National Stadium in Beijing which began on December 24, 2003. Government officials engaged architects worldwide in a design competition. A firm from Switzerland called Herzog & De Meuron Architekten AG in collaboration with China Architecture Design & Research Group won the competition. The National Stadium will feature lattice-like concrete skeleton forming the stadium bowl which will seat 80,000 people. Architects said the overall design would resemble a bird's nest with an immense ocular — an opening with retractable roof over the stadium. The National Stadium will be the site of the Opening Ceremony and Closing Ceremony as well as track and field events.
Built 100 miles north of Hong Kong in the city of Guangzhou the Guangdong Stadium was opened to the public for the ninth National Games of the People's Republic of China in 2001. It was originally planned to be the centerpiece of the 2008 Summer Olympics until a decision was made to construct the National Stadium in Beijing. The original design for the Guangdong Stadium was announced in 1999. The stadium seats 80,000 people. Taking from Guangzhou's nickname as the Flower City, the American architectural firm of Ellerbe Becket designed Guangdong Stadium to resemble a flower. The design firm stated in its press release, "The stadium bowl grows out of the ground to a sculpted upper edge, like the petals of a flower. Floating above the bowl is a shimmering ribbon of roof flowing like a wave over the seats. It parts at the ends and holds the Olympic flame, suspended between the two ribbons. A hotel surrounds a circular opening in the roof that forms a vertical tower of light, which at night is visible for a great distance. The roof form undulates, making it different from any other stadium in China or the world."
The 2008 Summer Olympics emblem entitled "Dancing Beijing" was unveiled in August 2003 in a ceremony attended by 2,008 people at Qi Nian Dian — the Hall of Prayer for Good Harvests in Beijing's Tian Tan (Temple of Heaven). The emblem combines elements of traditional Chinese society — a red seal and a calligraphic word for jing ("capital city") with athletic features. According to the International Olympic Committee, the emblem is the first of the modern Olympics to use red as the dominant color, an important color for the Chinese people through its history. The open arms of the calligraphic word symbolizes the invitation of China to the world to share in its culture.
Rogge delivered an address at the unveiling ceremony saying, "Your new emblem immediately conveys the awesome beauty and power of China which are embodied in your heritage and your people." Rogge continued, "In this emblem, I saw the promise and potential of a New Beijing and a Great Olympics. This is a milestone in the history of your Olympic quest. As this new emblem becomes known around the world — and as it takes its place at the center of your Games — we are confident that it will achieve the stature of one of the best and most meaningful symbols in Olympic history."
In 2003, the National Society of Chinese Classic Literature Studies in Beijing announced a global search for images of Sun Wukong — popularly known as the "Monkey King" — to become the mascot of the 2008 Summer Olympics. Scholars from the National Society of Chinese Classic Literature Studies argued the symbolism of adopting the Monkey King as mascot since the fairy tale character embodies the Olympic motto of "Higher, faster and stronger."
The 2008 Summer Olympics torch relay will achieve a world record as the Olympic flame will be carried up to Mount Everest — known by the Chinese people as Zhumulangma — the world's highest peak. It will be the highest altitude achieved in the history of Olympic torch relays, to be accomplished by eighty specially trained mountaineers. The overall course of the torch relay will take the Olympic flame from Athens through the Himalaya to Beijing and will be sponsored by soft drink giant, The Coca-Cola Company.
- Official Website of the 2008 Summer Olympics
- Beijing Embraces 2008 Summer Olympics
- Olympic Watch: The 2008 Beijing Olympics and Human Rights in China
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