Wednesday, August 1, 2007

A Year to Go

Today the Beijing Olympic Organizing Committee (BOCOG) announced its plans for the one-year countdown to the Games.

There are a number of celebrations starting in the next few days, with community-oriented fitness events and performances. Even Qingdao, Shanghai and Hong Kong have their own celebrations.

On the evening of August 8, Beijing will have a "splendid" gala at Tiananmen Square, exactly a year to the opening ceremonies.

Zhao Dongming, head of BOCOG's cultural events department gave a brief outline of the program which starts at 7pm. It includes performances by pianist Lang Lang, an Inner Mongolian will play on a traditional instrument, a Swedish artist will sing "China Moon", and 100 singers will debut "We are Ready", a song composed especially for the one-year countdown.

International Olympic Committee President Jacques Rogge will also attend, inviting some 200 delegates from National Olympic Committees worldwide.

BOCOG also has a contingency plan in case it rain -- the festivities will move indoors to the nearby Great Hall of the People.

And if you can't be here in person, CCTV will broadcast the event live.

But the upcoming celebrations were not on the minds of the various foreign journalists who came out of the woodwork to attend the press conference.

A BBC journalist said he'd heard that Steven Spielberg was thinking of pulling out of organizing the opening ceremonies. But spokeswoman Wang Hui and Zhao both said this was the first they had heard this.

Another from CTV asked if BOCOG was concerned about the environment and if they had any comments. All Wang would say was that this issue was being tackled.

One brought up the city's plan of taking one million cars off the road this month to see if it was possible to significantly reduce traffic congestion, and was asking when this strategy would be implemented. Wang would only reply that they were still talking about it.

And a French reporter asked how the number of "blue skies" in Beijing were calculated. Wang said this was an international standard so there was no skewing the numbers. But there were no further details on this "blue skies" standard.

With these kinds of questions on the minds of the foreign media, it looks like BOCOG will have to do more than window dressing to create a more favourable impression of the Games.

1 comment:

ks said...

i think the environment and traffic congestion are two big headaches for the BOCOG . if spielberg wants to pull out so be it. there are other talents in the rest of the world. there is no control over the weather. but traffic in and out of the city can be controlled. a lot of planning is required. with chinese ingenuity and coordinated effort it is hoped the olympic festivities will flow smoothly against all odds. this is one big opportunity to showcase the world modern china has grown up and make us proud.