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ARCHIVE - Beijing 2008 Olympic Bid

Beijing, China (Pop. 8,450,000, 26th) 

Bid Record:  Second Bid. Lost to Sydney for the 2000 Games by 2 votes.

China has never hosted the Olympic Games but may get sympathy votes because of the 2000 vote scandal.  Beijing is dedicated to doing whatever it takes to win the Games and have stopped at nothing in their publicity campaign.  

Pro: World's most populated nation and has never hosted (and said to be the personal favorite of IOC President Juan Antonio Samaranch). Con: Many political issues (human rights, drug use) and far from North American Eastern Time Zone.

Conclusion from May 15, 2001 Evaluation Commission Report

"This is a government-driven bid with considerable assistance of the NOC. The combination of a good sports concept with complete Government support results in a high quality bid.

The Commission notes the process and pace of change taking place in China and Beijing and the possible challenges caused by population and economic growth in the period leading up to 2008 but is confident that these challenges can be met.

There is an environmental challenge but the strong government actions and investment in this area should resolve this and improve the city.

It is the Commission's belief that a Beijing Games would leave a unique legacy to China and to sport and the Commission is confident that Beijing could organize an excellent Games."


Applicant City Evaluation Report Results From August 2000

Bold = Highest City in Category
Italics = Lowest City in Category

General Infrastructure 4.60
Accommodation 9.90
Olympic Village 8.50
Sports Infrastructure 7.10
Transport Infrastructure  6.95

Beijing Deals With The Challenges of Pollution, Traffic
September 5, 2000

Now that the International Olympic Committee has selected the five candidate cities bidding for the 2008 Summer Olympic Games, Beijing is rolling up its sleeves.

Beijing’s Deputy Mayor Liu Jingmin and a staff of 70 are working full time promoting Beijing’s bid out of plush new offices in downtown Beijing. A visitor to the office foyer will see a series of huge scale models of the proposed Olympic Village with a giant artificial lake in the centre, and a state-of-the-art 80,000-seat stadium.

But outside the fancy new offices is the most polluted capital in the world.

And one of the worst polluters is the massive Capital Iron and Steel Complex, built in the 1950’s and spewing out vast amounts of pollution daily from its smelters. Large parts of it will be shut down and what’s left will be moved elsewhere.

Then there’s the gridlock. Beijing’s streets are clogged with an ever-growing number of automobiles. Beijing’s buses are old and dirty and its subway system is unable to carry the large amount of Beijing’s passengers.

That’s about to change. Work has started on one of two large six-lane highways that will circle the city. And next year a new subway line and a light railway will be constructed.

And the dirty, grey, smog-filled city is about to undergo a facelift. To prepare for the Olympic selection committee’s arrival next spring, China has commissioned thousands of peasants to plant grass (one blade at a time) to beautify the city, and every boulevard will be swept spotless by brigades of women.

The government plans to spend the equivalent of $18-billion (Canadian) on anti-pollution efforts through 2008, roughly nine times what China’s Olympic committee organizers estimate the Games would cost.

There are already splashes of colour around the city. Money has been found to put up rococo water fountains, lay new sidewalks in pink and green concrete, and some of the grey skyscrapers have already been coated in pink and cream pastels, lit by green and pink floodlights.

One can see, rising out of the smog, statues of naked mermaids, plaster knockoffs of Zeus on major boulevards, an eight-metre-high beer mug, and a massive bean leaf meant for shade from the sun.

If Beijing gets the Games there will by 5,750 sports venues by 2008 with 23 major stadiums to hold events. And last year a new airport was opened that can move three million passengers a month. Beijing will have 72,000 rooms in 241 quality hotels and there are plans to build a $500 million national theatre on the edge of Tiananmen Square, to hold cultural events during the Games.

For the moment there are secret police filling Tiananmen Square, trying to stop the protests by falun gong members who are fighting for the right to meditate publicly.

China’s human rights record is still considered among the worst in the world.

But there is hope. The opening words of Beijing’s Olympic bid theme song are “Don’t fear the hardship, don’t bear the challenge…keep the dream in mind”.

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