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Special> Beijing Readies for 2022 Winter Olympics> Related Reports
UPDATED: April 3, 2009
Development of the Olympic Grounds

I'm standing in front of the National Stadium, better known as the "Bird's Nest" because of its shape. It is the biggest and most famous Olympic venue here in Beijing.

The Beijing Olympic Committee caused a stir just before the Paralympics when they announced their plan to sell the naming rights to the stadium.

The names of six foreign and domestic investors have been circulating since then.

The Bird's Nest could be named "Coca-Cola Stadium" or "Adidas Arena." Both companies are reportedly interested, but officially deny it.

The Bird's Nest still has no commercial name, but money is essential. It cost 325 million euros to build; 7.2 million euros per year are required to cover the costs of maintenance.

At the moment the only revenue comes from tourists who pay to go inside.

The stadium saw record attendance on October 1, 2008, China's National Day. 60,000 people came to see the landmark steel structure. The Bird's Nest is already a national symbol. But what do tourists think about a commercial name for their Bird's Nest?

Without any new attractions inside the Stadium, tourists will probably lose interest. In the next three to five years, the Stadium will be transformed into a center for entertainment, sports and shopping.

The first big event to be held inside the arena is the Puccini opera Turandot, which will run for several nights around the one-year anniversary of the Olympics.

The opera is directed by Zhang Yimou, who led the Olympic opening ceremony last year.

To enliven the area around the Olympic Green and create more attractions for kids, a temporary carnival theme park has also opened.

This is the Olympic Village, which housed 16,000 athletes from all over the world. At the moment the apartments are under renovation and are available to the public for rent. The first apartments went on sale in 2006, most of them are already sold out and in September the first new owners will move in.

As officials find new uses for these facilities, it looks like the Olympics will continue to leave their mark in Beijing for years to come.

Sonja Broy from Beijing

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