Spectators got a taste of Olympic excitement months before the Beijing Games opening ceremony with a performance by China's star hurdler Liu Xiang at the Bird's Nest last night.
Men's 110 meters hurdles world record holder Liu Xiang competes on Thursday night during the China Athletics Open at the National Stadium, nicknamed the Bird's Nest.
Liu made his debut at the stadium that will host the Olympic athletics competitions at the Good Luck Beijing China Athletics Open, an Olympic test event.
The world champion and world record holder qualified for the semifinals of the men's 110m hurdles easily, finishing the race in 13.63 seconds.
Since his warm-ups at the starting line, Liu's every movement was broadcast on the big screens at the far sides of the stadium, eliciting screams from the enthusiastic crowd.
"I came here only for Liu," said Wang Yiming, a spectator in the stands. "I didn't get tickets for Liu's event at the Beijing Olympic Games. So I came here to cheer for him before the Games."
Spectators filled about two-thirds of the 90,000-seat stadium for Liu's event, but most left after his race finished even though there were still four events to go.
Olympic organizers say tickets for the 110m final on Saturday night are the hottest ones of the four-day event.
Liu's appearance also attracted more than 100 journalists to the narrow mixed zone, which seemed to surprise the athletics superstar.