BEIJING SPECTACLE MARKS END OF GIGANTIC GAMES
BEIJING, AUGUST 26, 2008 (MALAYA) With its $40 billion landscape of twisted steel stadium, luminous Water Cube and imposing arenas arching high into the Beijing sky, the 2008 Olympic Games were as much a statement as a sporting spectacle.
China’s lavish staging of the Games underlined the nation’s economic superpower status and served as a breath-taking statement of intent. Never before have the Games been staged on such a grandiose scale. And it is likely they never will again.
Spanking new structures were central to the success of China’s extravaganza, but "reuse", "recycle" and "revive" are the buzz words for future Games, even though Beijing has ambitious sporting, residential and entertainment post-Games plans for its venues.
Beijing’s Olympics was far and away the most expensive ever. The bill for the Games and infrastructure directly and indirectly related to the Games – which analysts put at around $40 billion – dwarfs the previous record of $15 billion footed by Athens in 2004.
While that $15 billion all but paralyzed the Greek economy, Beijing’s bill is mere pocket change for the roaring Chinese economy.
These Games were always about showcasing modern China to the rest of the world, but there is little appetite or financial capacity to repeat the grand feat elsewhere.
Indeed, the International Olympic Committee is determined to ensure Beijing is the last of the huge Games. IOC president Jacques Rogge has repeatedly cautioned against "Games gigantism" and by 2012 a size-reduction plan first gradually introduced at the Athens Games will be fully in place for London.
The plan covers issues such as the use of temporary grandstands, changing rooms, and training facilities instead of permanent structures.
London has chosen to carefully plan its post-Games legacy to ensure no white elephants are left standing after the athletes have left.
Repeatedly praised by the IOC for its post-Games thinking, London Games chief Sebastian Coe and his team have opted for a compact event that will also revive a run-down part of the capital in the East End.
"I think we accept that it is unlikely you will see a Games on this size and scale and stature again," Coe said in Beijing.
"The IOC in 2001 reached the conclusions that the focus must be much more on sustainability, that big is not necessarily better."
Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi
© Copyright, 2008
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