Giant on the move
On top of the ’nest’ he captured this inflatable structure.
The stadium is now effectively shut down to visitors because of the secrecy surrounding the preparations for the opening ceremony, which everyone is expecting to be a spectacular affair.
Could this could be something to do with that? Or a security tent? Or the mother of all bouncy castles?
Picture by David Gray, who else?
This weekend, Beijing inaugurated the new Bird’s Nest Stadium with the “Good Luck Beijing” track and field event. I attended less than 24 hours after covering the earthquake in Sichuan, and the contrast between sports and rubble was a little hard to digest.
The Bird’s Nest stadium, built for the Olympics, can seat 91,000 fans. The air flows through well, keeping it cool in the muggy Beijing summer. The seats are well-positioned, so the contestants can be seen easily. The screens are visible, the sound-system clear, the lighting strong but not harsh.
We set off last Friday to see the titanic building and a relatively low-key athletics meeting mainly contested by young Chinese athletes.
Liu Xiang, China’s top athlete, was the undoubted star of the show at the China Open Beijing Olympic test event at the Bird’s Nest last weekend and cruised to an easy victory over a weak field in the 110 metres hurdles.
Such is the national obession with his retaining his Olympic title in August, though, that two false starts in three days caused some consternation among his many fans.
The difference was that when I was stumbling through the debris in Greece, it was just a few days before the Games rather than the 114 days that remain before the Opening Ceremony here in China.
On Wednesday, reporters will have a first chance to get inside the completed Bird’s Nest National Stadium, where some dreams will come true but many more will be dashed at the Olympics.
It’s been two years since I set foot in the stadium, which was then just a concrete bowl surrounding a muddy oval all shrouded in a twisting, dull, steel mesh.