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2008 Olympics to Be Cheaper Than Athens Games
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Though the specific operating cost for the 2008 Olympic Games is unavailable, a Beijing official announced yesterday that it would not exceed that of the 2004 Athens Games, which stood at US$2.6 billion.

The city's statistics bureau deputy director Yu Xiuqin cited this at a press conference Wednesday when asked: "How much money has Beijing spent on the Games?" Official figures show that Athens spent 1.97 billion euros (US$2.6 billion) on the 2004 Games.

About a year ago, the BOCOG executive vice president, Jiang Xiaoyu, had said that the Games' operating cost had increased from the original forecast of $1.609 billion to about $2 billion, Xinhua reports. However, no other specific figures have been available since.

The operating cost excludes the investment in the city's infrastructure or construction of the venues.

At least eight new lines are being added to the city's subway train network and a host of new roads are under construction, and a new 900,000-square-meter airport terminal is being built in the northeast of the city.

There will be 31 venues for the Games, 12 of which will be newly built including the iconic "Bird's Nest" main stadium and the "Water Cube" aquatic canter.

(China Daily January 25, 2007)

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