Spirit of Olympics

The Beijing Olympic Games 2008 is less than a week away with the opening ceremony being held on August 8 at the National Stadium in Beijing. With more that 10,700 competitors vying for the gold, silver and bronze medals, and predictions that China will win the highest number of gold leaving behind the dominant US, it has much surprises in store. And the Bird’s Nest which will be unveiled is another much awaited aspect which everyone is looking forward to.

How it all began

The first ancient Olympic Games can be traced back to 776 BC and were celebrated until 393 AD, according to historical records. Olympia was where the games were first held and it was dedicated to the Olympian gods.

The Modern Olympic Games started in the year 1896 and was held in Athens, Greece. It was the efforts of French educator Baron Pierre de Coubertin along with others who were able to revive the Olympics. Coubertin believed that in the Olympic ideal that it is through such a sporting event that even enemies could be united. Since then Olympic Games have since been held 25 times. The Olympic Games are held after a gap of four years.

Rings of unity

Though it is generally believed that the five rings blue, yellow, black, green and red represent the five parts of the world, Coubertin never said that he saw a link between the colours of the rings and the continents. For him, the five rings represented the union of the five continents, the colours used were those that appeared in all the different national flags when he made it. As an image of Olympism, for Coubertin the rings had a deeper significance — it meant the union between men.

2008 Olympics

The 2008 Summer Olympics are officially known as the Games of the XXIX Olympiad (the Twenty-ninth Modern Olympics). It will be held in Beijing, the capital city of China. It is the second time in the history of Olympic Games that it is being held in two different countries — China and Hong Kong. It will be held in 31 venues in Beijing and six co-host cities — Shanghai, Shenyang, Tianjin, Qinhuangdao, Qingdao and Hong Kong. The Olympic Torch carrying the Olympic Flame passed through 28 different cities all over the world.


Fuwas are the official mascot of Beijing 2008 Olympic Games carrying the message of friendship, peace and good wishes from China to children all over the world.

It has been created based on China’s most popular animals the fish, the panda, the Tibetan antelope, the swallow and the Olympic Flame. Each of Fuwa has a rhyming two-syllable name, Beibei is the fish, Jingjing is the panda, Huanhuan is the Olympic

Flame, Yingying is the Tibetan antelope and Nini is the swallow. When their names are put together in the form of Bei Jing Huan Ying Ni it says Welcome to Beijing.


Known as Dancing Beijing, the emblem consists of a red seal along with the Chinese word Jing. The open arm of the calligraphic figure represents the open invitation from China to the world.


Two-hundred-and-five countries will be participating in the Olympic Games 2008. There will 10,708 competitors who will take part in the 302 events in 28 sports. The sports include archery , athletics, baseball, basketball, badminton, beach volleyball, boxing, canoeing, cycling, diving, equestrian, fencing, football, gymnastics, handball, hockey, judo, modern pentathlon, rowing, sailing, shooting, softball, swimming, synchronized swimming, table tennis, taekwondo, tennis, triathlon, volleyball, water polo, weightlifting and wrestling.

Torch relay

The Beijing Olympics 2008 Torch Relay will cover the longest distance ever of 137,000 km, since the custom began at Berlin Olympics 1936. The torch for this year’s Olympics was lit at the temple of Goddess Hera in Olympia, Greece and the relay will conclude on August 8 after the Olympic Flame reaches the National Stadium in Beijing. This year the flame also reached the top of Mount Everest.

Bird’s Nest

One of the most prized possessions that China has created for Olympics is the National Stadium more popularly known as the Bird’s Nest which is said to be the world’s largest steel structure. It occupies 21.4 hectares. It is 333 m north to south, and 298 m east to west, and is 68 metres high. With a capacity of 8,0000 fixed seats and 11,000 temporary seats, it has a total of 91,000 seats.

The construction of the Bird’s Nest began in December 2003. The structural parts of the Bird’s Nest support each other and form a grid-like structure which actually makes it look like a bird’s nest with its interwoven twigs. The national stadium is surrounded in a sort of membrane, which is curved and double-layered, and is soundproof, wind-proof, rain-proof, and even offers UVA protection. The other speciality it has it that it has natural cooling and lighting capabilities which makes it energy efficient, satisfying green energy consumption requirements. The main body has been designed in such a way with high resistance capability that it will last a 100 years.

China tipped to shine

With China unveiling its largest team of 639 athletes for Olympic Games 2008, it is expected they may win the highest number of gold-medals.

According to predictions by the Italian Olympic Committee, China will win 45 gold medals, US will win 41 and Russia at 34. In the overall scenario, it predicts that US will be top-notch with 99 medals, Russia coming in second with 92 and China with 86. — Compiled by Eva Manandhar