Just days before the first anniversary of Beijing's epic win in its bid for the right to host the 2008 Summer Olympic Games, Beijing officials said they had made great progress in preparing for the Games, which will be the first ever Olympics to be held in China.
But they also reminded people that more and tougher preparation work still lies ahead, as the city launches the massive multi-billion-dollar Olympic venue building program and sets out its promotional strategies.
"What we have done for the Games so far has gone very smoothly," said Liu Jingmin, vice-mayor of Beijing and executive vice-president of the Beijing 2008 Olympics Organizing Committee, giving the committee a pat on the back for work done over the past year.
He said the preparations had covered a diverse range of work such as developing some of the Olympic venues, marketing, co-ordination with the International Olympic Committee (IOC), publicity activities and image build-up for the 2008 Games.
The city is preparing to celebrate the first anniversary with various activities.
A forum on popularizing key cultural themes for the Games was held yesterday at the Renmin University of China to train volunteers to promote Games-related cultural activities.
A 20-item action plan for cultural activities was also launched yesterday at the forum.
Beijing is set to spend US$1.65 billion on the 37 stadiums and gymnasiums and 59 training venues for the Olympics.
An international design competition was launched in April for two important Olympic sites - the Olympic Green and Wukesong Cultural and Sports Center which will contain the majority of the Olympic venues.
The committee received 91 draft plans for the two sites from 177 applicants around the world before the deadline on July 2, and a 13-member judging panel consisting of experts from home and abroad is to select 13 prize-winning plans on July 14.
Liu said the committee had also put a lot of effort into studying marketing strategies for the 2008 Games.
He said the Beijing committee and the IOC were expected to ink an deal on marketing in September with the actual work getting under way next year.
Successful marketing is essential for the Beijing Games and the committee hopes to channel about US$1.3 billion into its marketing campaign.
Other preparatory work includes image-building for the 2008 Games, with a large-scale promotional design conference held earlier this month.
The committee is also holding a design competition for the new Olympic logo.
(China Daily July 10, 2002)