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China already 'worthy of gold'
08:36, August 05, 2008

China deserves the title of "champion" for exerting all of its strength in preparing for the Beijing Olympics, the head of the United States' Olympic Committee said yesterday.

"Eighty-six heads of state will come to the Olympic Games probably more than at the past three or four Games combined ... which is a demonstration of their respect," Peter Ueberroth said during a speech at the "What Makes a Champion" forum at Peking University.

The title of "champion" should not be limited to the best athletes, but also be given to China, which has put its heart into preparing for the Games, he said. A gold medal should also go to Beijing's gardeners, who have turned the city into a "beautiful and green" one for visitors to feast their eyes on, Ueberroth said.

A third gold should go to the volunteers, whose only pay will be "the chance to make their country proud", he said.

His words were met with cheers and applause from the audience, many of them students who will give up their summer vacations to volunteer at the Games.

Established four years ago in Australia, on the eve of the Sydney Olympics, the "What Makes a Champion" forum aims to showcase the success and world-view of a diverse range of international figures to inspire young people to follow in their footsteps.

It was later recognized by the International Olympic Committee and added into the schedule for cultural events preceding all Olympic Games.

Yesterday's event attracted celebrities from the worlds of sport, the arts and politics, including former British Prime Minister Tony Blair, who said Beijing's preparations for the Olympics had set a new mark.

"I think the Olympics will be a fantastic event for China and the Chinese people.

"I wish you good luck. We have a very high standard to match in 2012."

Source: China Daily

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