"Give Beijing a chance and we will show you how much more we can contribute to the Olympic Movement.''
Tu Mingde, secretary-general of Chinese National Olympic Committee, made this pledge yesterday standing with his colleagues from the Beijing bid committee before a crush of photographers after the committee’s final press conference.
The five candidate cities faced the media in turn holding separate press conferences, the last International Olympic Committee (IOC) authorized media occasion for the candidate cites before this evening's vote. The press hall was packed when the Beijing delegation -- which presented fourth behind Osaka, Paris and Toronto -- stepped into the hall.
After a short film showing both an ancient and highly-developed modern Beijing, Wang Wei, secretary-general of the Beijing bid committee started on his speech to convince the world that Beijing is the best choice to host the Games.
"If Beijing is awarded the 2008 Olympic Games, it will make history because it will be the first time the Olympics has landed in a country with a population of 1.3 billion and a history of over 3,000-years,'' said Wang.
With only 30 hours to go before eagerly awaited moment, Wang said Beijing is ready for the vote.
"We are fully-prepared and confident,'' claimed Wang. He said the confidence is based on the following:
First, there is all-out support from across the nation. The results of a poll conducted by the IOC show that over 95 percent of Beijing citizens support the bid. That is the highest number of the five candidate cities.
"The Beijing Games will be the people's Games,'' Wang said.
Second, Beijing has won strong governmental support which will help to ensure the Games are a success.
Third, the 10 percent Gross Domestic Product (GDP) increase over the past decade and the dramatic improvement in the infrastructure and the environment will enable Beijing to hold a sporting event like the Olympics.
And last, an encouraging report published in May by the IOC Evaluation Commission says Beijing is able to host an excellent Games and the Beijing Games will leave a legacy to China and to sport.
"With open arms, we welcome friends from all over the world,'' Tu Mingde, secretary-general of Chinese National Olympic Committee, said.
Tu’s remarks were echoed by Deng Yaping, a four-time Olympic table tennis champion: "Please come to Beijing and you will see what Beijing is and what China is.''
In separate press conferences given by the four other candidate cities, all the representatives expressed confidence in winning the bid.
Toronto highlighted their bid by emphasizing their concept of "by athletes and for athletes'' while Paris stressed the integration of culture with the Olympic spirit, calling listeners' attention to the ideal of Le Baron Pierre de Coubertin, a French man and one of the founders of the Modern Olympics.
Osaka and Istanbul both said they accepted the report by the IOC Evaluation Commission, which seems to put the two cities in an unfavourable position, though they argued that mis-communication is probably to blame for the report. They will now make presentations directly to IOC members. Both cities said they will be able to convince voters and eventually win the bid.
(China Daily 07/13/2001)