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Remarkable progress in Olympic venue construction

Most of the competition venues for the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games have been completed and the builders are determined to deliver the last batch of quality venues as scheduled.

As of November 30, 2007, 26 of the 31 Olympic venues in Beijing and 30 of the 45 training venues have passed the check and acceptance procedure; 22 of these venues have already undergone successful test runs by hosting Good Luck Beijing sport events. Only a few final touches need to be added to a small number of projects, according to statistics provided by the Headquarters of the Beijing 2008 Olympic Project Construction Office.

As Beijing landmarks, the venues showcase explicit Chinese characteristics, and they are the result of the crystallization of wisdom of Chinese engineers and workers. The facilities also reflect the concepts of a "Green Olympics," a "High-tech Olympics," and a "People's Olympics."

There are two types of canoe and kayak races at the Olympic Games -- the Flatwater (or Sprint) and Slalom. Even though the two events require different water current velocities, the Shunyi Olympic Park is able to combine the two parts into one. As such, it is the world's first venue to keep flatwater and whitewater in the same place. This is in contrast to the practice of previous Olympic competitions. In Athens, for example, the two water venues were 45 km apart, which caused inconvenience to the athletes.

The technique applied in Shunyi was the result of many experiments and calculations. Four pumps are used to draw water from a lake and send it to a pool six meters high, driving the velocity to 12-18 cubic meters per second in the slalom courses. The current then slows down to flow to the flatwater courses. This method is not only convenient, but also cost-friendly.

High energy consumption, a major concern for large buildings, is controlled at the National Convention Center through a free convection heat transfer mechanism that reduces the necessity for air-conditioning. The rain water to be collected on the project's 60,000 sq m roof will be able to meet all water needs -- from landscape irrigation to toilet flushing.

In order to save sand, 80,000 tons of slag, a residue from molten steel, have been used to build the basement of the National Indoor Stadium.

Every venue has specific building features to meet the demands of different clients. The clay target range field of the Beijing Shooting Range Hall has a beacon tower-typed clay target shelter, which brings about a bit of Chinese flavor.

Built atop the site of a former gas stove factory, the Chaoyang Beach Volleyball Venue is one of the eight temporary venues of the Beijing Olympics. Three former factory buildings have been converted and remodeled into facilities for use by FIVB dignitaries, athletes, competition management personnel, security officers, technicians and media.

To ensure timely delivery of quality venues, the Beijing municipality has issued a mobilization order. Chen Gang, the command officer of the government office, requested leading officials of key projects under construction to sign a "Letter of Guarantee" to assure timelines are met.

"With the opening of the Olympics not very far away, and the approach of severely cold weather, we need to make good preparations for the last struggle to score the final triumph," said Office Director Xu Bo.

"We will keep our mission and responsibilities in mind, and focus our attention towards delivering a flawless quality venue on schedule," said Xu Jianyun, General Manager of the National Stadium. Mr. Xu was one of the key people who signed the "Letter of Guarantee."

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