Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Beijing National Stadium Dreams Come True

Beijing Olympic Stadium, PRCDreams come true!

For many Beijingers and visitors to Beijing there was a chance to make an Olympic dream come true this last weekend. The National Stadium (Bird’s Nest) was open to the public for the first time as it hosted the 2008 BBMG IAAF Race Walking Challenge.

Many of us in Beijing have watched the stadium grow from hutongs and corn fields to the magnificent, awe-inspiring, first class sporting venue we see today. For years we have seen workers risk their lives as work continued 24 hours a day to build this awesome structure. Finally the time came when we were able to stop watching this incredible ‘Bird’s Nest’ evolve ready for its ‘residents’ and we could enjoy ‘nestling’ in the ‘Nest’!

Sitting in the stadium it is hard to believe that such a gigantic structure can feel so warm and intimate. As you sit and gaze down at the track you feel as if you are truly close to the action. The designers have to be congratulated on their efforts to allow the audience such close proximity to competitors and performers. The views of what ever events go on are surprisingly close and clear. Feelings of warmth come about through the use of traditional Chinese red colouring of the walls that envelope and line the stadium.

Beijing Olympic StadiumLooking upward spectators have uninterrupted views through the open oval shaped roof to the blue skies aloft. The dynamics of the National Stadium don’t stop here! Continuing to turn the eye around this marvelous venue highlights the incredible genius of people’s ability to dream, design and build. There is an almost unending variety of shapes to enjoy when examining the gigantic steel girders that envelope and support this spectacular structure.

Dragging the mind and eyes away from dreams aloft and looking around the interior of the stadium allows people to enjoy the facilities available to those lucky enough to enter China’s National Stadium. The stadium is user friendly with the way entrances and seating are clearly labeled for people to find their seats. Regular aisles ensure spectators already seated enjoying events are not overly interrupted as others come and go from their seats. Food and drink outlets are nearby to any one seating area. Bathroom facilities are many, spacious and clean. A surprise awaits those who enter the bathrooms as they find themselves in what feels like something deep inside, a well lit, underground cave. The rough black lining on the walls, the shiny black floors and the painted black ceilings can’t help but remind those using the bathroom of the coal mine origins of many workers who toiled for hours to build this fantastic sports facility.

Exiting the stadium itself offers an opportunity to see the surrounds of the Olympic Park framed by a huge variety of shapes made up by the enormous steel girders of this astounding iconic sports facility. Photo opportunities abound!

Visiting China’s National Stadium is truly a memorable experience of a dream come true!

Books on China and Beijing