05 August 2008

Interesting facts about the Beijing Olympics

1. The Emblem Actually Means Something
The emblem, shown here, is known as “Dancing Beijing”. Apart from being pretty cool looking, it also has a meaning - the "dancing" figure in the center is a stylized version of the Chinese character that means “capital”, honouring Beijing.

2. BMX Will be an Official Event for the First Time
In total, nine new events will be played at Beijing 2008. The most exciting new addition is a BMX event, where cyclist race over hills, jumps, and rough terrain. This continues the recent tradition of adding games where the probability of devastating-but-hilarious injuries is high

3. Chinese Officials Really Don't Want it to Rain
In 2007, meteorological data collected over the last 30 years suggested there was about a 50% chance of rain for the opening ceremonies in August 2008. To deal with this, the Chinese are planning to shoot rockets full of silver iodate into the air to induce precipitation a few days before the games begin. Sound familiar? Poison Ivy did the same thing in Batman so she could take over Gotham City with her man-eating plants. So, if you find the idea of Chinese scientists shooting silver-filled rockets into the atmosphere a little disquieting, you should take comfort in knowing that they might have gotten their inspiration from a 40 year old TV show about a superhero.

4. Jackie Chan Sings the Theme Song (Well, One of Them)
For real. Jackie Chan, best known as the least insurable man on Earth, sings the theme song for the countdown to the Beijing 2008 Olympics. Considering Chan is a diligent perfectionist who holds the record for most retakes of a single scene (almost 3000!), I wonder how long it took him to finish the song in the studio.

5. Bathrooms Maybe Not So Communal
With the Olympics comes the building of new stadiums, and with stadiums comes thebuilding of bathrooms. However, the government has made it clear that these bathrooms are for the rich only. Local residents of Beijing living or working in the area are not allowed to use these newly constructed facilities, and risk facing a penalty of up to 500 yuen if caught. The Olympics are already expected to displace 1.5 million Beijing residents, and when they won the bid Chinese officials pledged to rid the city of, among other things, those with mental illnesses, so in the end what's one more kick in the teeth to the less fortunate?

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