Skip to Content

View site list

Profile

Projects

A tour of Beijing Olympic site

Organizers of the 2008 Beijing Olympics showed off progress in building their futuristic stadium and swimming centre amid a corruption investigation of an official overseeing construction projects for the games.

BEIJING

Organizers of the 2008 Beijing Olympics showed off progress in building their futuristic stadium and swimming centre amid a corruption investigation of an official overseeing construction projects for the games.

About 70 reporters were taken on buses to tour the sites of the National Stadium and the National Aquatic Center, two dramatic looking structures that are the pride of the summer games.

The tour came a month after Liu Zhihua, Beijing’s vice-mayor, was dismissed over allegations of corruption and other unspecified misdeeds.

Liu was in charge of urban development in Beijing and headed the office overseeing much of the $40 billion US the Chinese capital is spending on Olympic projects.

The Beijing Olympic organizing committee, which does not control construction funds, has tried to distance itself from Liu’s case noting he was not a member of the committee, and has plowed ahead with preparations — and a public relations push.

At the $380-million US stadium, some 2,000 labourers have been working almost round the clock and through weekends to ready the steel structure — dubbed the bird’s nest for its distinctive steel lattice work — by the end of next year, said Zhang Hengli, one of the officials overseeing construction.

About 80 per cent of the steel structure has already been installed at the stadium, which will also house the opening and closing ceremonies as well as track and field events, according to a press release from the organizing committee.

“We have very strong confidence that we will finish the project on time,’’ Zhang said.

He said the scandal involving Liu “likely has no impact’’ on construction.”

Workers in red hard hats were perched on the twists and curves of steel that formed the structure, some wielding welding torches.

Others walked around the muddy site chatting over the din of machinery as they carried metal bars. Scaffolding was everywhere.

Zhang said the 258,000-square metre, stadium designed by Herzog & de Meuron of Switzerland, is being built to withstand a magnitude-8 earthquake.

It will seat 91,000 people during the games.

Despite patches of rust that have already formed on the stadium’s exterior, Zhang said another round of painting will be completed after construction is finished “so it is not possible for it to get rusted before 2008.’’

Across from the venue is the Aquatic Center.

The building — 177 metres in length and width and 31 metres high — will have an outer membrane made of a futuristic translucent material stretched over steel pentagons and hexagons.

Construction officials said at the time that work had begun on 20 of the 31 venues, and the number of workers will rise from 17,000 to more than 30,000 in the middle of this year as more are hired to help organizers.

ASSOCIATED PRESS

Recent Comments

comments for this post are closed

You might also like