Olympic preparations have entered a decisive phase as work continues apace on venue construction, city infrastructure development, competition oversight systems as well as the recruitment of talent pools, Jiang Xiaoyu, executive vice president of the Beijing Organizing Committee for the Games of the XXIX Olympiad (BOCOG) said on Tuesday.
Jiang gave a comprehensive update on preparations for the 2008 Games and answered a range of questions on the opening ceremony, ticketing system and other matters during his talk with a China International Publishing Group (CIPG) delegation led by Deputy Director-General Huang Youyi.
"As we all know, a spectacular opening ceremony approximates half success of an Olympics," said Jiang, adding that the initial plan for the 2008 Games opening gala had been finalized during the fourth BOCOG session on Tuesday morning.
Giving priority to the Olympic spirit and traditional Chinese culture, cutting-edge technology would be employed to their full extent to showcase the themes of civilization and harmoniousness.
The cost for the 2008 Olympic Games ceremony is still unavailable, but Jiang stated it would be inferior than that of 2006 Doha Asian Games which totaled US$180 million.
The directorial team for the opening and closing ceremonies of the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games was released to an expectant world community on April 16, 2006 with Chinese director Zhang Yimou being named chief director for both ceremonies.
Rounding out the creation "dream team" are many big names from both the domestic and global scenes, such as Chen Weiya, vice director of the China National Song and Dance Ensemble, Honorary President of the Chinese Olympic Committee and IOC member He Zhenliang, world-renowned filmmaker Steven Spielberg and American music impresario Quincy Jones.
All venues, numbering 37 for active competition and 76 for training purposes, will be completed by the end of the year except for the iconic "Bird's Nest" main stadium to be finished in 2008. A total of 26 test events will be held in 2007 to put both these constructions and the Olympic organizers through their paces.
According to Jiang, the precise ticket release date has attracted a lot of attention following the unveiling of the affordable ticketing program on November 29 last year.
"The date will be publicized in April and we have been cooperating with relevant government department in fighting against scalpers and corruption."
The ticketing policy stipulates that prices will range from 30-1000 yuan with around 14 percent of available tickets being set aside for Chinese students to maximize the viewing opportunities for the Chinese public. The highest-priced ticket for the opening ceremony will stand at 5000 yuan.
Talking about the volunteer program for the 2008 Olympic and Paralympic Games which began in Beijing last August and went national last month, Jiang noted that over 330,000 applications have poured in from around the country. Furthermore, international recruitment drives will start in March, involving ever more enthusiastic and talented people.
Discussing options for the Olympic torch relay, Jiang revealed that the torch's trail has basically decided with its final circuit to be finalized and announced in two months.
(China.org.cn by Staff Reporter Li Xiao, February 14, 2007)