The Beijing Olympic Village formally closed on Wednesday. It will reopen on Thursday as it starts to receive athletes taking part in the upcoming Paralympic Games. And on Saturday it will formally change its name to "Beijing Paralympic Village".
The Beijing Olympic Village formally closed on Wednesday. It will reopen on Thursday as it starts to receive athletes taking part in the upcoming Paralympic Games.
The five Olympic mascots Fuwa have retired from their posts at the front gate of the Village. In their place, the Paralympic mascot, Funiu Lele, is there to welcome the new residents. Road directions and room signs have been changed. Special ramps for wheelchairs have been installed at the entrance of all buildings and rooms. And staff at the village are working round the clock to complete the final preparations.
Olympic village staff Zhu Lixuan said, "All athletes, coaches, referees and media workers will have arrived in the village by September 6th - the opening date of the Paralympic Games. And the Village will operate until the Games close on the 17th."
Alterations are also being made at the International Broadcasting Center, or IBC and the Main Press Center, or MPC. Banners, flags, signs and posters are being modified.
Deputy Director of MPC Xu Jicheng said, "This is the first time in history that the Olympics and Paralympics are sharing the same MPC venue. The area reserved for the Paralympics might be smaller, but our services will be of the same or even higher standard than the Olympics. As we say: 'Two Games, Same Spectacle'."
Dozens of disabled guests will be invited to test the facilities at the MPC next week. Improvements will be made according to their suggestions. And the MPC will officially open on September 2nd.
(CCTV August 27, 2008)