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Sportswear tops fashion podium
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With the Olympics and Paralympics now over, people across Beijing are heading to the city's main shopping areas in search of stylish mementos.

Last week, Canadian Drew Graham went to Sanlitun hoping to buy a replica of the suits worn by Chinese athletes at the medal ceremonies.

"I wanted the Chinese suit because the jacket is so beautiful," he said.

Unfortunately for him, thousands of other people had had the same idea and the suits were all sold out.

Another fan looking for a souvenir was Shan Pingping.

"I felt very proud of the Beijing Olympics," she said.

"After watching the events on TV, I've absolutely fallen in love with sports," she said.

After browsing through the various products, Shan bought a black weightlifting T-shirt for her son and a white one for her aunt.

In the wake of the Games, sportswear with an Olympic theme has become the in thing for Beijing's trendy youngsters, and the global sports brands are cashing in.

An anonymous sales assistant at the Adidas megastore in Sanlitun said some Olympic T-shirts sell out almost as soon as they are put on the shelves.

"Foreign buyers, in particular, want the Olympic designs, and they are buying in bulk," she said.

As for the suit Graham had been looking for, "they sold out just days after they arrived and we've no idea when the next lot will come," she said.

For many people, however, just dressing like their favorite sports stars is not enough: they also want to get fit, and are heading to the city's gyms.

Making sure it did not miss out on the craze, fitness firm Hosa opened a new gym in the Chaoyang district at the end of last month and immediately increased its membership fees.

Li Xueyi, an executive with the firm, was open about the company's profiteering tactics.

"After watching the Olympics, people were motivated to get fit, (so) we raised our membership fee."

Gao Ruigang, a coach at the Lanqi swimming club in Beijing, said: "The Olympics has really boosted our business."

Following a promotional campaign, the number of memberships rose by 50 percent, he said.

(China Daily September 19, 2008)

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