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Medal ceremony volunteers master their golden smiles
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08:53, June 13, 2008

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Ever wondered how to dazzle people with your smile?

Chen Sishi, an 18-year-old member of the Olympic medal ceremony team, knows just how to do it.

"You have to smile from the bottom of your heart," she said.

"You have to care for other people, and you must maintain eye contact."

Chen and 14 other volunteer team members - all women aged between 18 and 20, all slim, and all at least 170 cm tall - spoke to China Daily yesterday during a rehearsal at an office building in Beijing.

The event was part of a two-week training course being held for the medal team, and also the sports presentation teams at Olympic venues.

"The training aims to teach the volunteers professional skills and to achieve a seamless connection between the medal ceremony and the sports presentation teams," according to a statement from the Beijing Olympic Media Center. This is the 12th press trip dubbed "Telling our stories" organized by the center.

BOCOG said earlier it has now recruited the 337 volunteers it needs for the medal ceremonies. Twenty teams will help present medals at 774 ceremonies at both the Olympics (302) and Paralympics (472).

The rehearsal closely mirrored the actual event. Announcements were made in Chinese, French and English, national anthems were played, and medals and flowers were presented.

The main rule they have to follow is simple: don't stand too close to or far from the person presenting the medals.

"The distance must be exactly as we practiced," 19-year-old Zhang Qinqin said, "Every little thing is important in the Olympics. There is zero tolerance of mistakes."

The women were selected last year from the Beijing Yixian Institute.

They have been in training ever since.

Chen Lei, 20, from Jiangsu province, said the most challenging thing is carrying the tray, as it weighs 5-7 kg.

"At first, our hands would shake. But the more you practice, the easier it is," she said.

As well as physical training, the women have been learning English, brushing up on their Olympic knowledge, and taking lessons in manners and poise.

"I've learned a tremendous amount," Cheng said. "I will give the happiest smiles and most heartfelt congratulations possible to the athletes."

Source: China Daily

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