The 100-day countdown begins for what is highly anticipated as the biggest sporting event in the world -- the Beijing 2008 Olympics. It is certainly projected to be the grandest staging of the international sporting competition to be held in an Asian country. Arguably, it may very well be the most spectacular Olympiad yet.
But no grand goal is not without an opponent just as great. Not since Berlin 1936 did the Olympic games receive extensive media mileage for swimming in a pool of controversy. Ever since 2001 when the International Olympic Committee (IOC) awarded China the honor of hosting the 29th Olympiad, protests have been thrown from all sides ranging from issues of China and its relation to the Darfur conflict, to allegations of human rights violations, to China's strained politics over Tibet and the issue of the environment as several Olympic sites are said to be heavy in smog.
Yesterday, the international leg of the Olympic torch relay ended at Ho Chi Minh City in Vietnam. But prior to reaching the China-allied nation the torch relay was marred by huge protests in key cities along the torch's route -- San Francisco, Paris, New Delhi, Canberra and London among others. At the end of April the torch relay will start its China route starting in Hong Kong. The route of the China leg includes an ascent to Mt. Everest, another controversial first to watch out for in this epic prologue to the 29th Olympiad in Beijing.
Earlier, thousands of participants joined in the Sports for All Marathon Relay marking the 100-day countdown to the XXIX Olympiad in Beijing. The run started near the National Stadium (also called the "Bird's Nest") and also finished at the main Olympics venue.
Later a musical concert will be held to showcase the Beijing Olympics Theme Song "Beijing Huan Ying Ni" ("Beijing Welcomes You") along with the top entries for the Olympic song search. Guests include international martial arts superstar Jackie Chan and other Chinese stars such as Andy Lau and Stephanie Sun among others.
Officials from the Beijing Organizing Committee for the Games of the XXIX Olympiad (BOCOG) express confidence that everything is on track for the Olympic Games come August 8. Venues have been completed in record time, transportation issues are being addressed with new airports and subway systems. In addition, the pollution levels are steadily dropping with the closure of factories and heavy industry facilities within and around the vicinity of the sports venues.
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