SBD/Issue 219/Olympics

Olympic Notes

Clearer Beijing Days Result Of Recent
Increase In Antipollution Measures?
With members of the int'l press corps beginning to arrive in Beijing, several are documenting the details of the experience. In London, Brendan Gallagher writes, "Arriving in the Beijing airport was like being Royalty for the day. We were swept through endless glistening corridors, red tape was kept to a minimum and in no time [we] were in our own 54 seater bus headed for the Media village" (London TELEGRAPH, 8/4). In Edmonton, Terry Jones wrote under the header, "Early Report Is 'Wow.'" After traveling to Beijing 11 months ago and "not be able to see more than a kilometre," Jones wrote his arrival in the city Saturday, which included having "a day so clear you could see the Great Wall of China from the plane and see the tall buildings from all over Beijing from the ground, was a stunning transformation." Meanwhile, the media village "is by far the most modern I've ever encountered" (EDMONTON SUN, 8/3). USA TODAY's Christine Brennan writes, "A couple of initial thoughts from these Olympics: They are extremely well-organized, not that we'd know that back in the States with the way the Chinese government's behavior overshadows all else. ... The other key point: The Chinese are clearly ready to get on with these Olympics" (USA TODAY, 8/4).

AIR QUALITY FLUCTUATING: NBC’s Matt Lauer reported from atop the Great Wall of China and said the country “is ready” for the Games. Lauer: “We got here on Saturday afternoon, blue sky, and it was beautiful. (Sunday) was the same. Today, as the expression goes, not so much. We’ve had a fog layer that’s held in a lot of the pollution” (“Today,” NBC, 8/4). NBC's Lester Holt Saturday said the “city is ready, it looks great." Holt: "They’ve had two great days of weather here in terms of the smog. Both mornings, I’ve been able to wake up, look outside my window and see the mountains. That’s a big deal here” ("Today," NBC, 8/2). The SUN's Jones today writes the story in Beijing "the past two days has been the smog-free host city greeting everybody." Canadian Chef de Mission Sylvie Bernier said, "The best thing is the weather. I went with my family to the Great Wall of China [Sunday] and, while I've been there twice before, it was just stunning to be able to see so far." Meanwhile, Canadian Olympic Committee Dir of Games Carol Assalian said, "It's already agreed that the Olympic Village is the best, winter or summer, of all time. It's incredible. There's no doubt the athletes will feel that way" (TORONTO SUN, 8/4).

NOTES: All recording devices are "prohibited at the dress rehearsals" for Friday's Opening Ceremony after footage from a previous test run was leaked online last week. BOCOG Saturday said that "cameras, video cameras and recording equipment on mobile phones are prohibited" from the remaining rehearsals. BOCOG added "any information leaked to the public about the opening ceremony will be dealt with severely" (, 8/3)....The IOC announced that it would donate $4M to "help rebuild the sports infrastructure in the earthquake-damaged Sichuan province of China." BOCOG and the Chinese Olympic Committee matched that donation with $2M each (N.Y. TIMES, 8/3)....IOC President Jacques Rogge said that "talks with the [USOC] over a new formula to determine its share of revenues from IOC marketing and TV revenues will be held in Beijing once USOC chair Peter Ueberroth arrives" (, 8/2)....The AP's Ben Feller reported President Bush is spending four days in Beijing for the Games, and he is "doing more than just dropping by." Bush plans to "take in as much as he can, with large blocs on his Beijing schedule devoted to watching athletes compete." No U.S. president has attended an Olympics on foreign ground (AP, 8/2).

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