The Olympic Spirit

On April 20, 2012, in Beijing, Modern Architecture, More Places of Interest, by Jack Li

In a few months’ time the 2012 London Olympics will be in motion. To get into the Olympic spirit, why not travel to Beijing and venture to the city’s National Stadium which hosted the Beijing Olympics in 2008. Nowadays, the stadium is a must-see tourist attraction and has some 20,000 visitors stepping through the entrance […]

In a few months’ time the 2012 London Olympics will be in motion. To get into the Olympic spirit, why not travel to Beijing and venture to the city’s National Stadium which hosted the Beijing Olympics in 2008. Nowadays, the stadium is a must-see tourist attraction and has some 20,000 visitors stepping through the entrance daily. For a standard adult ticket, expect to pay 50RMB to enter the stadium. To reach the stadium, visitors can use Line 10 of the subway to Beitucheng and then change to Line 8 to the Olympic Sports Centre Station. There are also many Beijing Tours which cover this attraction, if wanting a more structured visit.

The stadium is an impressive sight both inside and out. It has a seating a capacity of 91,000 people and reaches a height of over 68 meters. The initial construction of the stadium started nearly a decade ago and cost around a whopping 33 million dollars. The ingenious architecture giving the stadium its unofficial name, the ‘Bird’s Nest’ after its appearance, has a characteristically Chinese feel with an influence of the country’s ceramic designs. Whilst the interior of the stadium embraces the country’s favorite color (red), which subsequently gives the place a warm sensation. After issues with incorporating a retractable roof in the initial design of the construction; instead, an inspirational semi-transparent air bubble film has been adopted which simply adds the organic depiction of the place.

Even before entering the Olympic Green (i.e. the surrounding grounds of the stadium); there is a hive of activity. Amongst the mass of tourists you can find many kite-sellers encouraging you to buy –  these kites are a great souvenir kids by the way. Around the Olympic Green there is also the chance to go to the National Aquatics Centre (also called the ‘Water Cube’. Again, this building epitomises Chinese design in that it embodies the Chinese concept of a square earth and circular heaven. There are different admissions fees for the Water Cube depending on the activity (as part of it is now a waterpark for the public). General admission to the Water Cube cost 30RMB.

A trip around the Olympic Green is an excellent way to view one of China’s recent developmental accomplishments. In addition, the grounds provide an enjoyable couple of hours for all the family. One activity, which can be done, for instance, is being able to use a Segway on the Stadium’s track – however, these can be quite expensive. The stadium has an informative exhibition area with a showcase of some of the actual equipment used to facilitate the 2008 Olympic ceremonies (such as displaying the Olympic torch!). Despite the conclusion of the Beijing Olympics, plans are underway to redevelop the area and build a shopping mall and hotel within the Olympic Green. This in turn should attract more tourists to the vicinity and encourage more Beijing flights and demonstrating that the city’s Olympic Spirit is certainly living on. Finally, take a chance to go to the Olympic Green at night and without a shadow of a doubt will be in awe of vibrancy of the place.

 

 

 

Fitness Fans

On April 10, 2012, in Activities, Cultural Experience, Parks & Gardens, Tips & Ideas, by Jack Li

When you travel to Beijing it won’t be long until you come across an outdoor gym. You can find them in parks, streets, along the rivers and in many other public places. It’s probably not even far away from many Beijing hotels. At certain times of the day they are well frequented, with many older residents […]

When you travel to Beijing it won’t be long until you come across an outdoor gym. You can find them in parks, streets, along the rivers and in many other public places. It’s probably not even far away from many Beijing hotels. At certain times of the day they are well frequented, with many older residents enjoying using these opportunities.

While many of us only know playgrounds for children China and other Asian countries offer a lot more than that. The outdoor fitness facilities seem a little like an adult version of those and even have a kind of similar purpose. They don’t only offer an opportunity to exercise; they are at the same time places for social activities, where neighbors, friends or just strangers meet.

These gyms are comparable to private indoor gyms, but they are in the open air and there is no entrance fee. There are different types of fitness machines, some for stretching and others to build up strength. Moreover, these places generally don’t need maintenance and the equipment uses the bodyweight of the user to create resistance instead of electricity. So it’s friendly to the environment as well as to the user. It is a great opportunity for everybody who doesn’t have access to a fitness club or can’t afford it and contributes to an active lifestyle and improves the physical condition.

Some of these outdoor gyms were built as part of a nationwide fitness campaign that started in 1998. The main purpose was to animate people to engage in more physical exercise by making these facilities enjoyable and easily accessible to the public across the country. Following this nationwide campaign the Beijing Olympic Games in 2008 offered a great opportunity to launch another citywide campaign. About 4,000 outdoor gyms were built in the Beijing area and sport has become more popular than ever with the Olympic Games in Beijing.

The result of these campaigns is definitely convincing, especially in the Beijing area where now about two thirds of all residents indicate to participate in some kind of physical exercise compared to the nationwide average of one third. Following Beijing’s example London has now also launched a similar campaign in preparation for the 2012 Olympic Games in London. Of course, with this topic there’s always an economic aspect to it. Staying fit and healthy reduces the risk for many diseases and helps to keep a healthy weight. That way, medical costs can be reduced considerably on the long run.

Beijing is probably the best example but if you travel to Shanghai or another big city you might not find as many of these outdoor gyms as in Beijing but you’ll definitely find them. So try them out, it’s a nice relaxation or strengthening for the muscles, whatever you prefer, and suitable of all ages.

Soups and Stadiums

On September 23, 2011, in Beijing, Modern Architecture, More Places of Interest, by Jack Li

When people think of “Birds nest” , you would come to 2 conclusions: Birds Nest soup and the Birds Nest Stadium. I will be reviewing one these great Chinese classics, the Birds Nest Stadium, or the Beijing National Stadium as it is officially known as. A tour of Beijing is not complete without viewing this […]

When people think of “Birds nest” , you would come to 2 conclusions: Birds Nest soup and the Birds Nest Stadium. I will be reviewing one these great Chinese classics, the Birds Nest Stadium, or the Beijing National Stadium as it is officially known as. A tour of Beijing is not complete without viewing this master piece of architecture than defined an entire Olympic games. All you need to do is hop on a subway from your Beijing hotel to the Olympic Park and see for yourself!

 

History

The main purpose of the Birds Nest stadium was to be the centrepiece for the 2008 Beijing Olympics and was used to hold the opening and closing ceremonies. The design for the stadium was constructed by Swiss architecture firm Herzog & de Muron in April 2003. They claim that their design for the building was inspired by china ceramics and implementing steel beams so to hide the supports for the retractable roof, thus giving the stadium the appearance of a birds nest. Chief architect Li Xinggang stated with regards to the build, “China wanted to have something new for this very important stadium in an effort to design a stadium that is porus whilst also being a public vessel.” The ground was broken in December 2003 and was officially opened 28th June 2008. Overall, the stadium cost $423million USD to build and now a shopping mall and hotel have been built nearby in order to increase the use of the stadium.

 

 

Olympics

The Birds Nest stadium was the centrepiece to the 2008 Olympic games in Beijing. Originally, the Guangdong Olympic Stadium was constructed in 2001 to help the city’s bid for the Olympic games. However it was felt that a new stadium should be built with a retractable roof and have low maintenance costs.

For the 2008 Olympics, a total of 11,028 athletes from 204 countries participated in 302 events in 28sports. Out of the 37 venues used for the games, 11 of there were pre-existing, 8 were temporary venues that were removed after the games and 12 were constructed specially for the Olympics. As well as this, 6 venues were host to the games outside of Beijing, two of these being newly constructed for this purpose.

 

 

After the Olympics

The Birds nest stadium has been home to variety of events after the Olympic games. On the first anniversary of the openingceremony, the stadium hosted a performance of the Puccinni Opera Turandot and was home to the 2009 Italian Supercup. The stadium was also meant to used to house the Beijing Guo’an football club but this was later withdrawn out of the embarrassment of using a stadium that seats over 90,000 spectators for a game that only brings a crowd based of around 10,000.

Despite the last of major events in the Bird’s nest calander, the stadium still seems to be profitable, drawing in 20,000 to 30,000 people a day for it’s tourist appeal. The venue costs $9m USD to maintain.

In November 2010, it was announced that the 2015 World Athletics Championships will be hosted at the Birds Nest Stadium.

 

 

The Beijing National Stadium is something that needs to be seen by anyone travelling to Beijing and is best to experience at night when it is all light up!

 


Interesting Facts about the Beijing Olympics

On July 25, 2011, in Beijing, Featured China Stories, Festivals, by Jack Li

Hosting the Olympics in Beijing was a major occasion for China, and it proved to be a spectacular event. Book Beijing Flights and Travel to Beijing now to see the wonderful Bird Nest and Water Cube constructions. Here are some fascinating facts that you did not know about the 2008 sports competition. 1) The Beijing […]

Hosting the Olympics in Beijing was a major occasion for China, and it proved to be a spectacular event. Book Beijing Flights and Travel to Beijing now to see the wonderful Bird Nest and Water Cube constructions.

Here are some fascinating facts that you did not know about the 2008 sports competition.

1) The Beijing Olympics cost $43 billion with the cost of construction being $1.8 billion. Now the venues are used for public sports, entertainment and are popular tourist attractions.

2) In preparation for the 2008 Olympics, 400 million Chinese students in 500,000 schools throughout the country were educated about the event. This complemented one of the primary goals of the Olympic Movement, which was to educate young people about sporting activities.

 3) This was the last Olympics to include Baseball and Softball as Olympic sports. They have both been excluded from the 2012 Olympics in London.

4) 2008 was the first year since 1936 that a country other than the USA or the Soviet Union led in the medal count.

5) India won 0.31% of the Olympic medals however they house 17% of the world’s population.

6) Pakistan was the most populous country, in the 2008 Beijing Olympics, not to win an Olympic medal. The country has an astonishing 164 million people and is the 6th largest nation in the world. This is a rather strange finding, as you would think they would have more skilled sportspeople to choose from. Alternatively, Iceland has a very small population but won an Olympic medal.

7) China has 19.8% of the world’s population and won 10.4% of the Olympic medals.

8 ) The United States only houses 4.6% of the world’s residents however they won 11.5% of the medals.

9) An estimated 4.1 billion people watched the opening ceremony, best online casino however 4.7 billion watched the Olympics.

10) In the closing ceremony there were 2,583 special lights, which weighed a total of 300 tonnes. They had to be installed 5 months in advance.

11) Because of the Beijing Olympics, 3,500 babies in China have been named ‘Aoyun’ or ‘Olympics.’ Chinese mothers-to-be tried to give birth on the day of the opening ceremony.

12) For the 4th consecutive Olympics the highest number of medals was won by the US.

13) 5,000 Yuan ($731) was the most expensive 2008 ticket for the opening ceremony. The cheapest for the sports competitions was 30 Yuan ($4.38.) A total of 7 million tickets were made available to the public.

14) At the opening ceremony, a digital control system minimised the time difference between fireworks to a few milliseconds.  This occurred at 30 locations throughout the city. There were 40,000 shots, but none of them malfunctioned.

15) 4,000 IT specialists were hired to manage the 1,000 servers, 5,000 results systems terminals, 4,000 printers and more than 10,000 computers.

16) The 2008 Beijing Olympics was the first to be produced totally in high-definition (HD.)

17) Beijing used a monitoring system to control 18,000 performers through identification codes. This system was called ‘ShenZhou 4000’ and is usually used during space missions. This is the first time ever technology like this has been used in the Olympics.

18) On the night of the opening ceremony, weather rockets were sent up into the air to stop rain clouds from reaching the Bird’s Nest.

19) The date of the opening ceremony was on the 8th of August 2008 (08.08.08) as the number eight is a lucky number in China.

If you want to learn more about China or the Beijing Olympics book a China Airlines flight now!

Olympic Dreams

On September 2, 2010, in Cool Places, Shanghai, by Jack Li

Olympic Dreams  Two years on from the sporting spectacle the legacy of the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing lives on. Visitors from all corners of the globe congregate at the 91,000 seat stadium, The Birds Nest, to marvel at the Herzog and De Meuron designed masterpiece which was constructed following a six month long International […]

Olympic Dreams

 Two years on from the sporting spectacle the legacy of the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing lives on. Visitors from all corners of the globe congregate at the 91,000 seat stadium, The Birds Nest, to marvel at the Herzog and De Meuron designed masterpiece which was constructed following a six month long International competition.

 The stadium, designed to last for 100 years is also thought to be able to withstand a force eight magnitude earthquake. The enviromental credentials of the stadium also elevate the venue as one of the planet’s greenest with geothermal pipes and the recycling of rainwater.

 The 2008 Beijing Olympic Games emblem, depicted below, represented Beijing’s hospitality and hopes while carrying the city’s commitment to the world during the event.  Red was used in the emblem as it is the colour of the sun and the holy fire representing life and new beginnings. A symbol of vitality and China’s blessing and invitation to the world. The 2008 Olympics took place under the slogan of “one world, one dream”. The slogan encompasses “unity, friendship, harmony, participation and dreams”. A shared vision for global peace. The slogan was simple, meaningful, inspiring and easy to remember, read and spread.

 Symbolism was further endorsed with the Olympic mascots “Fuwa” who drew their colour and inspiration from the Olympic rings carrying a message of friendship, peace and good wishes from China all over the world.

 Athletes from 86 countries won medals at the Beijing Olympic Games. Medals were made from gold and jade symbolising mobility and virtue. Visitor’s to The Bird’s Nest can assume their position on the medal podiums once occupied by those victorious in 2008. To experience Beijing or The Olympic Stadium for yourself contact China Travel Depot.  Been to the Beijing Olympics? Share your memories on our blog!

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