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Beijing Marks 2nd Anniversary of Successful Bid for 2008 Olympics
Beijing on Sunday celebrated the second anniversary of its Olympic bid triumph with kinds of cultural and sports activities.

Two years after the city won the right to host the 2008 Games, the successful bid remains a source of enormous national pride throughout China.

Some 12,000 people joined in a celebratory 8-kilometer run that began in Tiananmen Square and ended at the Millennium Monument, an outdoor stage in western Beijing.

"I'm training hard now and I hope to compete at the 2008 Olympics," said the 16-year-old Liu Chao, winner of the mass run.

Hu Yuanru, a retired garden caretaker, said he didn't run for awards, but for "the Olympic Spirit".

"Participation is more important than the result," he said.

College students also put on artistic performances, urging residents to "welcome the Olympic in a civilized way."

In some of the other varied celebrations, ballroom dancers, trick bicyclists and roller skaters took the stage in many parks.

"July 13 has already become a holiday in people's hearts," said the 62-year-old Li Qing, who had circles in different colors painted on his chests to symbolize the five Olympic rings.

Meanwhile, more than 30 gymnasias and stadia are open to the public at half price.

On July 13, 2001, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) chose Beijing over four other candidate cities, including Toronto, Paris, Istanbul and Osaka, as the venue for the 2008 Games.

(Xinhua News Agency July 14, 2003)

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