Monday, January 05, 2009

What a shame...

And unfortunately, completely predictable...

"Beijing suffers the curse of the Olympic city:
Three months after the end of the games, new figures show the "Olympic Effect" has been short-lived and hotels are empty, industrial output has fallen and the streets are quiet.

Much of the pain is due to the worldwide financial crisis – and in some cases due to brave decisions by the government to keep polluting industries shut to spare the environment.

But even the biggest single symbol of the modern rise of China, the "Bird's Nest" National Stadium, stands forlorn, largely unused except for a shrinking number of tourists.

Attempts to attract the city's main football team to move to the ground have failed – it is simply too big for the club's crowds. Instead, it charges 50 yuan – around five pounds – per person to come and stand where Usain Bolt and others touched glory in the summer.
I attended the Olympics, and for all the controversies and negative aspects (the exile of Beijing's migrant workers & wholesale clearance of historic neighborhoods to name two), it was a spectacular event in many ways. I was particularly impressed by the quality of the athletic facilities - the Bird's Nest and Water Cube really are world-class (the fencing hall is really cool too). But there were always questions about how useful they would be once the Games were over.

On the plus side, Beijingers are enjoying a greater number of "blue sky days" - and if you've ever experienced Beijing's bad air days, you know this is no trivial accomplishment.


McMama said...

Hi, Lisa! I am doing the blog-following thing, and I'm pretty sure I need to follow this one.

Been missing the Gather crowd, but there aren't enough hours in my days...

It's sad to think of the Bird's Nest standing unused. It was an amazing stage for the Olympics.


Morgan Mandel said...

I actually don't want the Olympics to come to Chicago, where I work.

Too much money spent where it could go somewhere else.

Morgan Mandel