The Beijing Organizing Committee for the Games of the XXIX Olympiad (BOCOG) yesterday announced the Top 10 Olympic stories as follows:
1. Olympic preparation gets top leaders' attention
On October 1, 2006, Chinese President Hu Jintao paid an inspection visit to the construction sites of major venues for 2008 Olympic Games and made important remarks on guidelines on the Olympic preparatory work.
On October 25, Premier Wen Jiabao met International Olympic Committee President Jacques Rogge, who was in Beijing to attend the seventh full session of IOC Co-ordination Commission for the Beijing Olympic Games. Wen said the Olympics is playing a positive role in establishing a democratic, open, civilized, friendly and harmonious image of the country.
2. Affordable ticket prices for Olympic spectators
On November 29, 2006, BOCOG revealed details of its affordable ticketing programme.
According to the ticketing policy, the prices for sports sessions will range between 30 and 1,000 yuan. In addition, about 14 per cent of tickets available will be reserved for Chinese students at prices between 5 and 10 yuan..
3. National Stadium stands on its own feet
On September 17, 2006, the supportive structures of the National Stadium, the main venue for the 2008 Olympic Games, were removed. On December 26, 2006, the National Aquatics Centre, another landmark venue for the 2008 Olympic Games, completed the installation of cushions, or membrane structures on its outer layer.
By the end of the year, the renovation of 11 existing venues was in full swing, while more than half of eight temporary venues were also under construction.
4. Over 240,000 Beijingers want to be Olympic volunteers
By mid-December 2006, the number of applicants in Beijing had exceeded 240,000 to be volunteers at the 2008 Olympic Games. BOCOG and the Beijing Olympic Games Volunteer Work Co-ordination Group launched the recruitment for volunteers of the Beijing Olympic and Paralympic Games, on the morning of August 28, 2006. A total of 70,000 volunteers will be needed for the Olympic Games and further 30,000 for the Paralympic Games.
5. BOCOG launches Heart-to-Heart Partnership Programme
On December17, 2006, BOCOG launched the "Heart-to-Heart Partnership" programme, marking the 600-day-countdown to the opening of the Beijing Olympic Games. It is part of the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games' education programme, which aims to enhance exchanges between students of the Beijing-based elementary and secondary schools and those of the countries and regions where members of the Olympic Family come from.
Up to now, Beijing has designated more than 200 elementary and secondary schools for the programme. These schools will enter into partnerships with Olympic and Paralympic committees of various countries or regions, and each of the schools will establish partnerships with a counterpart school in another country or region.
Under the programme, prior to the Olympic Games, students from the schools in Beijing will learn about the language, culture, history, geography, customs and etiquette of the country or region of the counterpart schools, as well as engaging in exchanges with counterpart schools. During the Olympic Games, some students and teachers of the schools will go to the Olympic Village to welcome foreign athletes and to cheer on sports teams from the country or region of a counterpart school, and invite athletes from these teams to visit their schools.
6. IOC decides competition schedule for Beijing 2008
IOC confirmed on October 26, 2006 that the IOC Executive Board had, after a thorough consultation process, agreed to a final version of the competition schedule for the Beijing Games.
7. BOCOG announces creation team for Games ceremonies
The creation team for the opening and closing ceremonies of the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games was made public on April 16, 2006.
Renowned Chinese film director Zhang Yimou was named chief director of both the opening and closing ceremonies. He will be assisted by Zhang Jigang, director of the Song and Dance Ensemble affiliated with the General Political Department of the Chinese People's Liberation Army, and Chen Weiya, vice-director of the China National Song and Dance Ensemble.
Ji Xianlin and Tang Yijie, two eminent professors from Peking University, and world-renowned Hollywood movie director Steven Spielberg, were among the consultants invited to participate in the creation of the ceremonies.
8. Mascot chosen for Paralympic Games
Fu Niu Lele, the official mascot of the Beijing 2008 Paralympic Games, was unveiled at the foot of the Great Wall's Badaling section on September 6, 2006.
Fu Niu Lele represents a combination of traditional Chinese graphic arts, paintings and toys, and modern cartoons. It is intended to be a friendly image ambassador for the Paralympic Games.
9. Beijing 2008 pictograms draws on Chinese art
BOCOG released the pictograms of the Beijing 2008 Olympics on August 7, 2006.
The pictograms comprise 35 sport icons, including athletics, rowing, badminton, baseball, basketball, boxing, canoe/kayak flatwater, canoe/kayak slalom, cycling, equestrian, fencing, football, artistic gymnastics, rhythmic gymnastics, trampoline, weightlifting, handball, hockey, judo, wrestling, swimming, synchronized swimming, diving, water polo, modern pentathlon, softball, taekwondo, tennis, table tennis, shooting, archery, triathlon, sailing, volleyball and beach volleyball.
With strokes of seal characters as their basic form, the pictograms of the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games integrate pictographic charm of inscriptions on bones and bronze objects in ancient China with simplified embodiment of modern graphics, making them easy to recognize, to remember and to use. Skillfully using the effect of sharp contrast between the black and white colours typical of Chinese traditional artistic form of rubbings, the designers of the pictograms of the Beijing Olympic Games mix distinct motion characteristics, graceful aesthetic perceptions of movement and rich cultural connotations, to achieve harmony and unity of form with conception.
10. New rules for foreign, Taiwan Olympic journalists
On December 1, 2006, the Chinese Government published Regulations on Reporting Activities in China by Foreign Journalists During the Beijing Olympic Games and the Preparatory Period. Foreign journalists will no longer need to apply to local government authorities for permission to carry out reporting, but need only to obtain the prior consent of the organizations or individuals they want to interview.
On December 27, the Taiwan Affairs Office of the State Council issued a set of regulations offering Taiwan journalists more convenience in terms of report on the mainland in the run-up to and during the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing.
Source: China Daily