Countdown to Beijing: 30 Days Left
With less than 31 days left until the Games begin, what better way to start the countdown than introducing you to the host city of Beijing, China.
The International Olympic Committee elected Beijing to host the Games of the XXIX Olympiad on July 13, 2001, beating four other cities in the bid to host the games: Osaka, Paris, Toronto and Istanbul. For the past seven years, China has been rapidly preparing for these games, which should serve as a "coming-out" party for a nation that has made great economic progress and prosperity.
In the process, the Beijing Organizing Comittee for the Olympic Games (BOCOG) has built 12 new venues, renovated 11 and built 8 temporary structures for a total of 37 venues that will host 302 events in 28 sports. Approximately 10,500 athletes from over 200 nations will take part in the competition.
Two venues that stand out the most are the Olympic Water Cube (Beijing National Aquatics Centre) and the Bird's Nest (Beijing National Stadium). The two venues will host aquatic and athletic events respectively. I can't really describe why they stand out better than these two pictures.
I have never seen an exterior of a sports venue like those two, and they do truly make these Olympic Games unique, architecturally speaking.
Some basics regarding the games itself (just in case, I swear I'm not insulting your intelligence):
- Beijing 2008 will be held over a period of 17 days starting with the opening ceremonies on Friday, August 8 and will end with the closing ceremonies on Sunday, August 24.
- Competition will actually start two days before the opening ceremony on August 6, with preliminaries in the women's football (soccer) tournament.
- Some football games will be held in cities outside of Beijing and the equestrian events will be held in Hong Kong due to quarantine concerns. This will be the second time two separate nations will host Olympic events. The equestrian events were held in Stockholm, Sweden in 1956 while Melbourne, Australia hosted the rest of the Games.
- The modern Olympics began in Athens in 1896. The games during the VI, XII and XIII Olympiads have been cancelled three times to World Wars I and II.
- This will be the first Olympic Games to be broadcast entirely in high definition and expected to reach over 4 billion viewers around the world.
- The official slogan of the games is "One World, One Dream," the logo is entitled "Dancing Beijing" and there will be five mascots, each representing the five colors of the Olympic rings.
Those are just some basic facts that I throughout there. Each day leading up to the Games, I'll focus on one aspect of the upcoming Olympic Games. Tomorrow, for example, we'll look at NBC's coverage of the games as part of out "WHAT UP?! Media" weekly series.
All-Star Game Coming Up in One Week
New York City and Yankee Stadium will be hosting the baseball world next week with the 2008 All-Star Game. It's quite fitting since this is the last year in the history of the old Yankee Stadium before they move into the new Yankee Stadium. This is the first time since 1977 that the game will be held in New York.
The All-Star roster was announced last Sunday and taking a look at the starters, I don't see many surprises. Lots of Yankees and Red Sox players playing together, including Alex Rodriguez and Manny Ramirez, both playing in their 12th All-Star Game. I can say that with how well the Rays are doing, its a little disappointing to see a lack of Tampa Bay players, though I guess the public hasn't gotten to know them yet.
The National League is a little more mixed with the Cubs having several more players in the game than other NL teams. The topic of choice right now seems to be about the Final Vote, where there is one spot left for each team, and five players in contention to capture that final spot, including Jason Giambi who is using his mustache as a campaign slogan to capture the final vote.
We'll talk more about the game as it gets closer to the first pitch. Meanwhile, if you're in New York check out these upcoming events:
- DHL All-Star Fan Fest, starting from Friday, July 11 until Tuesday, July 15 at the Jacob Javitz Center
- Taco Bell All-Star Sunday including the XM All-Star Futures Game and the Taco Bell Celebrities and Legends Softball Game
- State Farm Home Run Derby on Monday July 14
- All-Star Game on Tuesday, July 15.
Go to this link for more on the 2008 All-Star Game:
Rumor has it that the NHL Winter Classic will be heading to the Midwest at legendary Wrigley Field where the Chicago Blackhawks will face the defending Stanley Cup champions Detroit Red Wings.
Check out the details:
Schumacher wins Time Trial Stage 4 of Le Tour de France
And finally, imagine having to play a playoff game only to find out that one of the players is ineligible to play. That was the case in Britain where the Cricket Twenty20 quarterfinal was postponed:
And here is this week's PIC OF THE WEEK:
Felipe Trueba/European Pressphoto Agency
Rafael Nadal posing for photographers after his victory over Roger Federer in the men's final at Wimbledon on Sunday.
That's all for now, thanks for reading and come back tomorrow, we'll discuss NBC's Olympic Coverage and hopefully I can cram in something about the Tour de France.