Chefs de Mission in the starting blocks for Beijing 2008
Last week the Chefs de Mission of 198 National Olympic Committees (NOCs), who will head their national delegations at the 2008 Olympic Games next year, met in Beijing for a preparatory seminar. Through presentations, workshops and a venue tour, the Organising Committee for the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games (BOCOG), in cooperation with the International Olympic Committee (IOC), briefed the NOC representatives about various operational aspects which will be crucial for the smooth running of the Games in exactly one year's time.
The Chef de Mission from the Slovenian National Olympic Committee describing his impressions from the spot exactly one year before the opening of Beijing 2008 Olympic Games.
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Operations planning at decisive stage
"The 12 months to come will be decisive for the Games preparations", stated Liu Jingmin, Executive Vice-President of BOCOG during the opening ceremony. After years of planning it is now the time to start the implementation. The variety of subjects covered during the seminar - sports and venues, Olympic villages, transport, accreditation and sport entries, medical services and doping control, support grants and protocol and NOC services at Games time - reflects the meticulous operational management needed to welcome 10,500 athletes from more than 200 National Olympic Committees at the 2008 Olympic Games. Accordingly, the variety of the questions posed by the Chefs de Mission from all over the world shows the diverse needs of the NOCs depending on their differing size, structure, means and location.
BOCOG provided the NOC representatives with a tour of the spectacular venues like the National Stadium, also called the "Bird's Nest" due to its extravagant architecture, and the National Aquatics Centre, with its eye-catching bubble design on the outside. The participants experienced on-site what IOC President Jacques Rogge had already announced as impressive preparations and state-of-the-art venues in his opening speech. A visit to the future Olympic Village allowed the Chefs de Mission to check out where they, their athletes and their officials will reside during next year's 2008 Olympic Games. And all of them already gave the Village an individual as well as a green touch by planting a tree for their NOC in the future residential zone.
A taste of the Opening Ceremony
A taste of what to expect at the Opening Ceremony of the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games was the one-year-to-go ceremony on Tiananmen Square on 8 August. About 10,000 people were present when the IOC President symbolically handed out invitations to the representatives of Greece, Canada, Great Britain, Russia and China – the current NOCs with Olympic Games host cities on their territories and Greece, as the birthplace of the Games - inviting them to participate in the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games. The ceremony itself was a magnificent extravaganza of colours, light and sound, with musicians, acrobats, dancers and singers all combining to create a mosaic of sound and movement. With the Forbidden City as a backdrop, Chinese culture was clearly on show.