Before the Olympics last year, I had read reports that the public would be able to use the Water Cube in December 2008.
There was lots of talk of converting the venue into a public facility right away to make good use of it, and I was really looking forward to trying out the pool that Michael Phelps had swum in to clinch eight gold medals.
However, that time came and went, and the National Aquatic Center and the National Stadium or Bird's Nest seemed to attract more attention as tourist sites than as functional public buildings.
At one point last year, an elaborate fountain show presented to music was displayed in the Water Cube, making me wonder if the Las Vegas-style gimmicks would end soon and us avid swimmers could actually take a plunge in the pool that is apparently filled with purified water.
But lo and behold -- last night I heard on China Radio International that the Olympic pool was indeed open as of Saturday!
People have to pay 50 RMB (about $7) entrance fee for a two-hour swim, but that's not all.
They will have to present a health check certificate and a deep-water swimming certificate, as the pool is 2m deep.
No health certificate? You can get a health check on site -- for an additional 20 RMB -- and demonstrate you can swim 200m in any stroke.
In a way it's good -- it immediately weeds out those who are not serious swimmers, or those who just want to splash around and not swim laps.
Knowing me though, I'll probably be stopped for not having a swimming cap or not having my passport, something ridiculous like that. Believe me it happens and it's so irkesome to be so close, yet so far...