Beijing 2008 Olympic Games
Five Official Beijing Olympic Fuwa Mascots
The Official Mascots, or Fuwa, of the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games are called Bèibei, Jīngjing, Huānhuan, Yìngying and Nīni. Like the five Olympic Rings from which they draw their colour and inspiration, the Fuwa carry a message of friendship, peace and blessings from China to children throughout the world.
Will and Guy's friend Dr Lee says that if you join the names of the five Fuwa then they spell out: "北京欢迎你 Běijīng huānyìng nñ" which translates to: "Beijing welcomes you". Dr Lee also points out that in his youth Beijing was called Peking.
Beijing 2008 Organization
The 8th August 2008 is an important date in the Olympic calendar, because that is when the XXIX Olympic Games officially open in Beijing, China. The eyes of the world will focus on China as the world's largest outside extravaganza begins. As with all festivals held in the open air one thing is paramount to ensure the attendance of tourists, athletes, locals and the media: that is, of course, the weather.
Now, the Chinese have, throughout history, been extraordinarily clever in their invention and ability to use their natural surroundings. But, can they, are they able or ready to work on the most unpredictable of all the elements - the rain and, indeed, the Summer is the rainy season in this area of China?
Will and Guy have learned that the Beijing Olympic organisers are going to do just that because they are determined that nothing will spoil their party.
We know that the organisers have ordered a team of climatologists to do the impossible: make sure it doesn't rain during the opening ceremony on 8th August. This team has been trained, we have discovered, and their preparations are complete reported Wang Jianjie, a spokeswoman for the Beijing Meteorological Bureau.
These imaginative scientists have perfected a complex technique, involving catalytic agents, which will reduce the size of raindrops; this would delay any rain until the overhead clouds move further away or conversely, make it rain before it reaches the stadium. They will use this method over the 91,000 seater Olympic Stadium, [nicknamed the 'bird's nest'] effectively creating 'a meteorological umbrella'.
Will and Guy are unable to confirm the veracity of these statements but await developments with bated breath.
The Bird's Nest Olympic Stadium
Herzog and DeMeuron of Switzerland together with the China Architecture Design Institute designed this 'Birds Nest'. There was certainly nothing like it when Beijing was known as Peking. It is located at Olympic Green and seats 91,000 spectators, it will host the athletics and also the football. Here is a photo, taken at night, the National Stadium for the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games.
Will and Guy have learned that China is organising classes in cheering aimed at preparing Chinese sports fans for the Olympic Games next year. For the Chinese government, the Beijing Olympics are a big part of the country's emergence onto the international stage. It wants the games to be perfect - right down to the applause. Therefore, the Chinese are training volunteers on the finer points of cheering, including when to clap and the importance of avoiding unsporting behaviour.
Olympic Rings Bike
Meng Jie spent about two months to design and modify his normal bicycle into an 'Olympic rings' version. He plans to ride it around Yinchuang, China, to welcome the Olympics being held in Beijing (formerly Peking). Photo: Joe Chan [Reuters]
Back to the Fuwa - Here is Nīni and the others on playing cards
Pictogram of all the Beijing Olympic Events
We leave you to work out which pictogram represents which Olympic sport. Actually, the first one is the most difficult, Will thinks that it signifies equestrian sports, whereas Guy thinks it's rock climbing.
Where is Beijing (Peking)?
Here is a map showing Beijing over in the east of China. You can just about make out neighbours such as Japan and the Indian sub-continent.
We are familiar with the expressions, 'It's raining cats and dogs,' or 'Pennies from heaven,' well now you've learned a new expression: 'It's Raining Cement.'
In an attempt to prevent rain from spoiling a holiday in Moscow. [June 12 is Russia Day, a patriotic holiday celebrating the country's independence after the break-up of the Soviet Union.] Russian planes dropped cement into the clouds. This practise called 'seeding' is used worldwide to achieve rainless days.
However, this time the planes carrying loads of silver iodide, liquid nitrogen and cement powder to seed clouds above Moscow and empty the skies of moisture, failed to pulverise the cement bags before jettisoning them into the clouds thus causing a whole cement bag to fall to earth.
It caused considerable damage to the roof of a house. We have ascertained that the owner was at home but was not injured, but she has refused an offer of 50,000 roubles [$2,100 USD. Just over £1000] from the Russian air force, saying she would sue for damages and compensation for moral suffering. [We are unsure of what that means in this context.]
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