Olympics scene set for spectacle and controversyThe most lavish Olympic games Olympic games, premier athletic meeting of ancient Greece, and, in modern times, series of international sports contests. The Olympics of Ancient Greece
Although records cannot verify games earlier than 776 B.C. of the modern era will get under way today in the spectacular Bird's Nest stadium, with more than 80 heads of state joining 91,000 spectators and 15,000 performers for an opening ceremony expected to attract a global television audience of more than 3bn people.
Despite concerns over pollution, security and human rights, the organisers are promising a 16-day extravaganza of sport; their spokesman, Sun Weide, said: "Of course, we hope that these will be a great games, even the greatest."
It will certainly start with a bang as 35,000 fireworks fireworks: see pyrotechnics.
Explosives or combustibles used for display. Of ancient Chinese origin, fireworks evidently developed out of military rockets and explosive missiles and accompanied the spread of military explosives westward to illuminate the five-hour ceremony. The identity of the athlete who will light the torch has not been announced and the method that will be used to elevate the Olympic flame The Olympic Flame, Olympic Fire, Olympic Torch, Olympic Light, Olympic Eye, and Olympic Sun is a symbol of the Olympic Games. Commemorating the theft of fire from the Greek god Zeus by Prometheus, its origins lie in ancient Greece, when a fire from the track to the cauldron suspended 350 feet above on the roof of the stadium remains shrouded in secrecy.
Billions of dollars and seven years of planning have gone into preparing the city for these games, and last night the sense of expectation was palpable. The boundaries of the Olympic Green The Olympic Green is an Olympic Park in Beijing, China that is under construction for the 2008 Summer Olympics.
Distance from Olympic Village: 2km Distance from MPC/IBC: 2km Spectator Capacity: Field A: 15,000 Field B: 5,000 , the main sports thoroughfare, were thronged with sightseers drawn to the spectacular illuminations of the stadium and the Water Cube aquatic centre, pulsing a deep blue as night fell.
Meanwhile, the organisers will be hoping for a change in the weather A Change in the Weather is a 1995 work of interactive fiction by Andrew Plotkin, in which the player-character is caught in a rainstorm while out in the countryside. It won the Inform category at the inaugural 1995 Interactive Fiction Competition. to disperse the smog that tends to hang over the national stadium. Beijing's air pollution index yesterday was recorded at 96 , which came close to exceeding the national level for acceptable air. Today's forecast is for overcast skies with a slight chance of showers in the afternoon; greater relief may come at the weekend, with a forecast of moderate rain that could help wash out pollutants.
Another cloud on the horizon is the issue of drugs. Although there have been no positive tests out of more than 600 carried out in the past two weeks, John Fahey John Fahey may be:
Altering the electrical conductivity of a semiconductor material, such as silicon, by chemically combining it with foreign elements. ], part of the world will leave us because the public will desert any sport, any time, if they are not satisfied it has integrity," he said.
The significance of this moment for China and its relations with the rest of the world is clear from the most high-profile guestlist the Olympic movement has ever seen. For the Beijing regime, the opening ceremony is a political event as important as the sporting spectacular, and yesterday the country's president, Hu Jintao Hu Jintao (h` jĭn`tou`), 1942–, Chinese political leader, b. Jixi, Anhui prov. A hydroelectric engineering graduate (1965) of Qinghua Univ. , held audiences with a dozen state leaders and royal family members. George Bush heads a list that includes the Russian prime minister, Vladimir Putin, Afghanistan's president, Hamid Karzai, Israel's president, Shimon Peres, and his French counterpart, Nicolas Sarkozy.
Of the main developed nations, only Britain and Germany are not represented by their most senior politician, though Gordon Brown will attend the closing ceremony. His predecessor, Tony Blair, will be there, however, as will the Olympics minister, Tessa Jowell, and sports minister Gerry Sutcliffe.
London's mayor, Boris Johnson, is staying away until the end of the games when he will receive the Olympic flag from the International Olympic Committee “IOC” redirects here. For other uses, see IOC (disambiguation).
The International Olympic Committee (French: Comité International Olympique) is an organization based in Lausanne, Switzerland, created by Pierre de Coubertin and Demetrios Vikelas on June 23 president, Jacques Rogge. Ken Livingstone, the man he beat in June's election, is in Beijing as a guest of the city authorities.
Those in attendance will witness an athletes' parade that has been touched by politics and will reflect the diplomatic tensions between the US and China that surfaced this week. A day after China revoked the visa of the 2002 speed-skating gold medallist Joey Cheek for fear that he would speak out against Beijing's support for the Sudanese regime accused of sponsoring genocide in Darfur, the US team announced that Lopez Lomong, a refugee from Sudan, would carry the stars and stripes Stars and Stripes
nickname for the U.S. flag. [Am. Hist.: Brewer Dictionary, 8567]
See : America at the head of the team.
Rogge also announced yesterday that the North and South Korean teams will not be marching together as they did in Athens and Sydney. Instead, they will march in one after the other, with North Korea coming first, courtesy of the Mandarin alphabet used to decide the order.
Rogge said he was convinced the games would be a positive step for China and its engagement with the rest of the world. "The excitement I feel and the IOC IOC
International Olympic Committee
IOC n abbr (= International Olympic Committee) → COI m
IOC n abbr (= feels is that of an athlete before a major competition," he said.
"As for the significance of these games, each games is important for the Olympic movement, and each has its own identity. Clearly in Greece the games was going back to its roots, to its birthplace in the home of classicism classicism, a term that, when applied generally, means clearness, elegance, symmetry, and repose produced by attention to traditional forms. It is sometimes synonymous with excellence or artistic quality of high distinction. . China will be opening up the games to one fifth of mankind, and the next games in London will be in the country that invented modern sport and gave athleticism to the world.
"I think this will mean a lot for the perception of China. On the one hand for the rest of the world to discover China will be to discover a country that is for most of the world a bit mysterious. But they will find a country with 5,000 years of history, a fascinating country. I believe the spotlight on China will help the world to understand China, and it will also help China to understand the world."