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Two-year Countdown Begins to 2008 Olympic Games
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With the support of the Chinese government and the people of the country, work on all aspects of the Olympic Games preparations is moving forward smoothly as planned, according to the Beijing Organizing Committee for the Games of the XXIX Olympiad (BOCOG).

While addressing a press conference in Beijing today, Wang Wei, BOCOG executive vice president and secretary-general, and Jiang Xiaoyu, BOCOG executive vice president, gave an update on the preparations for the 2008 Games.

"It's our solemn commitment to the whole world to hold a high-level Olympic Games with distinguishing features," Wang Wei explained to the media attending the briefing. "That's also the request and expectation of the Chinese government and people."

"One World, One Dream" is the theme, the slogan and soul of the Beijing Olympic Games. "Green Olympics, High-tech Olympics and People's Olympics" are the three concepts which provide the very keys to the event.

According to Wang Wei, following the establishment of the Beijing Olympic Media and Communications Coordination Group and Security Coordination Group, the Foreign Affairs Coordination Group, Beijing Capital International Airport Coordination Group, Olympic Torch Relay Leading Group and Opening and Closing Ceremonies Leading Group for the Games were all set up this year. They have provided a firm foundation and guarantee smooth operations in all relevant areas in terms of organization and delivery.

In addition, the Beijing municipal government has established the Beijing 2008 Construction Headquarters Office, the Beijing 2008 Environment Construction Headquarters Office and the Olympic Legislation Coordination Group in succession to oversee venue construction, urban environmental protection and Games-time policy research respectively.

People from all walks of life have been actively involved in the preparatory work such as marketing, the solicitation of the Olympic emblem, theme slogan, mascot and songs for the Games, Wang said, adding that society as a whole were enthusiastic to participate in the preparation for the Games.

He illustrated the preparatory work involved in the Games thus:

Olympic venue construction proceeds smoothly. Beijing requires 37 competition and 76 training venues for the 2008 Olympic Games. Construction of 15 new competition venues has been started. Main structures of some key venues have been completed. The construction of the Olympic Village and other facilities progresses smoothly. Renovation and expansion of some of the existing facilities as well as provision of temporary venues is underway and the renovation projects for the rest of the existing competition venues will begin by the end of the year.

Work on competition organization is moving forward at a steady pace. Competition Schedule by Day and Competition Schedule by Session have been worked out. Competition managers for 28 events have been identified. Training venues for most sports have been defined. Games preparation in co-host cities is also progressing smoothly and the Olympic Equestrian Committee has been established in Hong Kong. Prior to the Olympic Games, Beijing will host a number of test events. At present, the relevant departments of Beijing and Qingdao municipalities are preparing two such events -- the International Softball Federation XI Women's World Championship and an International Sailing Regatta which will take place in August.

Preparation for the Beijing 2008 Paralympic Games is going on at the same time. Coordination and communication with the International Paralympic Committee has been enhanced. Working teams and mechanisms for the Beijing Paralympic Games have been established. Following the unveiling of the emblem for the Paralympic Games, construction of easy to use facilities for those with disabilities continues as planned. Paralympic marketing is underway. So far 22 domestic and overseas enterprises have become Partners or Sponsors of the Paralympic Games. The mascot for the Games will be made public on September 6 which is the day the two-year countdown to the Beijing 2008 Paralympic Games commences. 

Marketing efforts have paid off. Apart from 11 IOC's Worldwide Olympic Partners who'll offer financial and service support to the Beijing Olympic Games, another 11 Chinese and overseas companies have become Partners of the Games. In addition, nine Chinese and foreign enterprises were selected as the Sponsors of the Games. Six Exclusive Suppliers and one Supplier are identified.

Communications and cultural activities have seen good results. The achievements in this respect included the unveiling of the Olympic Games emblem, the theme slogan and the "Friendlies" mascots. Four Olympic Cultural Festivals have been organized and the core team and guidelines for the opening and closing ceremonies established. Work on the Torch Relay is moving forward smoothly. The Torch Relay will focus on domestic areas and involve overseas cities as well. In addition, Beijing 2008 Olympic Education Program for Primary and Secondary School Students has been launched, with 200 model schools designated for the Program. The Olympic Volunteers Program will be launched in late August to officially start recruitment and training of volunteers.

Media and Games services upgraded. The First World Press Briefing and the Second World Broadcasters Meeting will be held soon in Beijing. A well conceived security plan has been developed to ensure a safe Olympic Games. Progress has also been made in all the areas of Games Services such as transport, accommodation, catering, accreditation and the like.

City Operations officially inaugurated. A City Operation Liaison Officer, a City Look Liaison Officer and a Culture and Entertainment Liaison Officer have been appointed. The concept for City Operations has been formulated which defined the goals, tasks, coordination, resources and organizational structure for the Games-time City Operations. Currently, BOCOG is working with related districts, counties and other government agencies of Beijing on the tasks to ensure successful venue operations and periphery support.

"In the coming two years we'll act in line with the instructions about the Games preparation set by the Chinese government and further intensify the work in all aspects," said Wang. He welcomed the wider attention and participation of the public in the Games preparation.

(China.org.cn August 8, 2006)

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