Ten thousand mountaineering enthusiasts including many foreigners chose to climb the world's most famous wall - the Great Wall - on the first day of the new millennium, to support Beijing's bid for the 2008 Olympics.
"I paid for my students and myself to attend the event because we want to see the ancient city and the Great Wall," said Bob Copeland, an amateur mountaineering coach from the United States, while warming up for the race Monday morning.
"From my point of view, the Olympics does not only mean sports and competition. It should be a global gala with the mark of local culture, so people from all over the world can get an opportunity to see an alien civilization through sport.
"In this respect, Beijing no doubt has an advantage. It is a fabulous city even in the winter," Bob said.
When asked if he favored Beijing as the host of the 2008 Olympics, the American had some concerns.
"It seems Beijing will be the ultimate winner of a bitter contest. The infrastructure, the facilities and the banners, all demonstrate the capital city's determination.
"But to edge out, Beijing must win support at grassroots levels, both at home and abroad," he said.
The 2001 International Badaling Mountaineering Tournament, co-organized by the Chinese Mountaineering Association (CMA), the Beijing Sports Federation and the Badaling Special Zone Office, was launched to arouse enthusiasm in Beijing's bid.
"Through such an event, we intend to draw attention not only from local residents but also foreign friends, towards Beijing's bidding efforts," said Li Zhixin, deputy director of the CMA.
"It seems we have been more successful than we expected," he added.
Scot Allen from Indiana, and Liz Ulrich from Michigan, both US high school students, could not disguise their excitement over their first trip to China.
"I wish Beijing every success in its bid, since I want to come back to China in 2008," Liz said.
"The sights are so different here than in America. There's a lot to see - the ancient architecture and the modern buildings - they're all fantastic," she added.
（China Daily 01/02/2000）