Liu Xiang has been forced out of the 110m hurdles at the first hurdle (apologies), due to a leg injury. Round 1 of his event began this morning, and, but not before rumours were fluttering around the Bird’s Nest that he was injured. The crowd were on edge, but when Liu valliently came out for his heat it seemed at first that the fears were in fact unfounded. However Liu’s race ended before it had begun, as at a false start he pulled up unable to clear the first barrier. As the other racers returned to their marks Liu had to admit defeat…
Here is the live text coverage as it happened from the BBC (time is BST = Beijing +7):
0451: This is going to end in tears – Liu Xiang walks out to a rapturous applause, only for a packed stadium to see their tyro pull up holding his Achilles after going through a warm-up sprint. He looks utterly gutted, but he’s only gone and pulled off his tracksuit bottoms – he’s going to run this – he’s only going to run this ruddy race!
0454: This is just horrible – Liu Xiang winces as he sets himself in the blocks, only to pull up after a false start. And that’s it – the white flag has been waved, the defending champion admits defeat and returns to the changing rooms. I don’t think the capacity crowd at the Bird’s Nest have actually understood what has just gone on.
It’s a bit soon to gage the reaction of the Chinese public to this sad, sad news. Bob’s colleagues are stunned, and fairly unwilling to talk about it. Won’t push it!
It’s worth remembering the huge amount of expectation on Liu; the 1# Chinese Olympic dream was to see Liu retain his gold, and he was even compared to Communist hero Lei Feng.
He clearly wanted to run so badly, he must have known that there was no real way that he could compete with his injury, but couldn’t bring himself to pull out until it was literally impossible to continue.
Just to compound a sad morning for Bob, one of Britain’s triple jump stars, and a former classmate of your truly, Nathan Douglas has not reached the qualifying distance for the final. Gutted.
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Posted in Architecture, Beijing, Culture, Legacy, tagged Architecture, beijing architecture, bird's nest, national aquatics center, national stadium, olympic architecture, water cube on 14 July 2008|
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Beijing National Stadium
Beijing is a city reshaped, and the 2008 Olympic Games will leave a lasting impact on the landscape of one of the most historic cities in the world. Coming at a time of huge economic growth and large-scale
rural-urban migration (legitimate and unofficial) the Olympics has come as a spur for adventurous architecture on an ambitious scale.
For an introduction into the new landmarks reinventing Beijing’s identity check out a new interactive guide from NYT (thanks Rusk for pointing this out). Click ‘play audio’ for a succinct analysis of each project.
The Water Cube - Beijing Olympic National Aquatic Centre At Night
The slide show of the National Aquatic Centre (Water Cube) shows how the beautiful bubbles/cells were generated. One other thing that Bob didn’t know was that there is a water park within the Water Cube that will remain in use after the Olympics – a definite must on the Beijing to do list!
Apart from the Water Cube and the National Stadium – aka the Bird’s Nest – the guide also covers the new Airport terminal, the National Theatre and the CCTV tower.
For more information on the Water Cube and comments from one of the architects of the Bird’s Nest take a look at these past posts.
The Bird's Nest - Beijing's National Stadium
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There are just one hundred (and ten) days left before the opening ceremony of the Beijing Olympic Games. Typically highly organised and publicised the 100 day count down for the Beijing Olympics has been announced ten days early. To mark this ‘occassion’ a song has been recorded and released; it includes the voices of 100 artists and is entitled ‘Welcome to Beijing’.
BOCOG have also announced that 364 cheerleaders have been selected to ‘wecome to Beijing’ athletes and spectators at 10 venues around city.
One of these 10 venues will be the Birds Nest – the national stadium – which has been official unveiled. Tim Johnson was one of the journalists allowed in to see, and describes it in some detail.
This is the final venue to be completed, a month after the organisers of the Beijing Olympic and Paralympic Village opened that. According to the China Economic Review “Anyone who has visited say it is a delight and environmentally friendly design although, sadly, the loos are Asian rather than Western style”. Fascinating. Well this week (at least since Bob’s last post ‘Olympic Torch Protests – Who Says What?‘) Chen Zhili was named as the ‘Mayor of the Beijing Olympic and Paralympic Village’. Ms Chen is clearly a busy woman, also Vice-Chairwoman of the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress (NPC) and BOCOG Vice-President, so it is unlikely she will have time to fix the toilet situation.
Speaking of Olympic mayors, it is just 11 days until the Mayor of the next city to host the summer Olympics and Paralympics will be elected. Already labelled the ‘Genocide Olympics’ (by many Chinese bloggers at least) London will host the Games in 2012, but who will be the Mayor between now and then, Ken Livingstone or Boris Johnson?
From ‘Wecome to Beijing’ to Boris Johnson, via cheerleaders (apologies, but the BOCOG has been banging on about the cheerleaders so many times BOB had to given them at least one mention) seemlessly linked. Finally, apologies for the absence of posts in the last week, the Beijing Olympic Blog is most definitely back in action now.
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Well, according to Beijing Vice-Mayor Chen Gang, the total cost of the venues will be about 13 billion RMB (1.22 billion Euros). Of this 3.5 billion RMB will have been spent on the Bird’s Nest. In contrast, the London 2012 Olympics have been set a target of 9.3 billion Pounds (12.52 billion Euros) to cover construction – about 10 times as much. Of course a great number of factors will account for this not least local labour costs, but anyone looking to purchase a Bird’s Nest or Water Cube would be wise, on this evidence, to shop in China.
On the topic of the costs of construction of the Olympic venues, there has been discussion over how many workers have or have not died on sites over the 5 year building period. This stems from a report in the British Sunday Times that “China has systematically covered up the accidental deaths of at least 10 workers, and perhaps many more, in a rush to construct the futuristic ”bird’s nest” stadium in Beijing for this summer’s Olympic Games”. After some toing and froing the official line now seems to be that 6 workers have died; 2 on the Bird’s Nest site, and 4 elsewhere. The Sunday Times article has a vivid account from a migrant worker, that could be representative of the perils that so many of China’s floating population face, though is certainly not exclusive to workers on Olympic venues. It remains to be seen if the Sunday Times keep such a close record of the accidental deaths of works on the 2012 Olympic sites.
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