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Series scrutinizes Beijing's bid for top spot
  By Chen Nan

With the Olympics around the corner, Discovery Channel is presenting a special three-part series titled Ultimate Olympics, or China 08,08,08.

The series takes a close look at the innovation, enterprise and commitment that China and its athletes are pouring into hosting and participating in the world's biggest sporting event.

The series portrays a nation undergoing a transformation and highlights its high-tech athletic preparation, construction of innovative and friendly infrastructures and use of science and technology to combat foreseeable challenges. Each one-hour episode focuses on a different aspect of the preparations.

Renowned short track skater, Yang Yang, one of the two Chinese members of the production team, says the first discussion was on whether China would end up winning the most gold medals. Then they analyzed the role of the Chinese coaches, entering athletes' training rooms to see how they prepared. This went to the heart of the ultimate question: How to be No 1? Since 1988, China has steadily climbed up the Olympic medal table, and in Athens four years ago, finished second behind the US. But at Beijing 2008, China is desperate to claim top spot. The show goes behind closed doors to meet Olympic hopefuls and study their round-the-clock preparation, strengthened by an army of sports scientists and coaches.

The Discovery crew also reveals the huge challenges that architects and engineers faced in order to turn designs on paper into structures of steel in a very short time. Innovation was the buzzword for these designers, who created amazing Olympic stadiums like the Bird's Nest and the Water Cube, plus the Olympic Village.

The show takes the audiences behind the scenes of all the high-tech gadgets that will ensure the Olympics run smoothly. From sophisticated weather systems, to facial recognition software for enhanced security, to microchips that enable Beijingers to watch the Games on their mobiles, the world is seeing a technological revolution at Beijing 2008.

For an event of this magnitude, where it is imperative that everything goes according to schedule, one of the biggest concerns is the weather - military precision rockets are ready to be fired into the sky to keep the dark clouds at bay.

Viewers will also hear from the people behind the scenes and share their excitement, sense of responsibility, pride and dreams as they each work towards the common goal of making this the most successful and technologically advanced Olympic Games ever.

Yang Yang, now a TV producer, says the world has witnessed Beijing's transformation since it won the right to host the Games seven years ago. "The stories are rich and the show set out to be a larger concept than the Olympics itself," she says.

(China Daily 07/30/2008 page18)
source: (China Daily)

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