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Discovering Beijing

With each passing day as the road to the Beijing Olympics gets closer, Discovery Channel in a four-part series — Ultimate Olympics — will present astonishing stories on how this nation is gearing up for this mega event, reports Sahil Sharma.

india Updated: Jun 28, 2008 23:59 IST
Sahil Sharma

As each day passes the road to the Beijing Olympics gets closer. August 8 is when the world will set its sight on China and laud the efforts made by the highest populated country in the world. The spirit of competition, the mounting excitement and the preparation of the games are truly unparalleled.

Discovery Channel in a four-part series — Ultimate Olympics — will present astonishing stories on how this nation is gearing up for this mega event. The channel also looks into the innovations, endeavours and commitments that China and its athletes are putting in for hosting the event. From athletic preparations, state-of-the-art stadiums and advanced technology, Beijing 2008 can truly be termed as the ‘High Tech Games’.

“The 2008 Olympic Games will be unique. The audience will see how modern science and technology has been used to build next generation infrastructures, manage nature, combat traffic jams, terrorism and even the language barrier,” said Rajiv Bakshi, director, marketing, Discovery Networks India.

Until now, the US has dominated the Olympics medals tally, but they are facing serious threat from China, who were second in the overall tally at the Athens Games in 2004. Now, China is aiming for the number one spot. ‘Ultimate Olympics’ goes behind the scenes to meet Olympic hopefuls and study their preparations, strengthened by a collaboration of technology and skills. The US is also aware of the Chinese threats and is also preparing hard. “China is outspending us, out-resourcing us and out-talent-identifying us," said William Sands, sports scientist, USA Olympic team. “At this time you have to train athletes in the same way as NASA trains its astronauts,” Sands adds in the series.

Beijing 2008 encapsulates the essence of Chinese culture. The series also examines, how the Chinese coaches are using technology and ancient methods to enhance the skills of the players.

As the host nations, China are all set to make the 2008 games a grand success. They have constructed state-of-the-art stadiums like the main National Stadium — also called ‘the Bird Cage’ — which is one of the largest stadiums in the world spanning 330 meters and is 27-storeys high. The uniqueness of this stadium is that there are no pillars. The other is the aquatic centre also known as the ‘Water Cube’ and is inspired by soap bubbles and organic cells. The series also showcases the innovative methods that are being used to counter the weather problems. From ‘Military Precision Rockets’ to ‘Weather Balloons’, Beijing’s Weather Bureau is going all out to predict the most accurate weather for all the venues. But it remains to be seen that to what extent can technology be relied upon? The answer to this will come on August 8.

On TV: Starts July 14 (Monday, 9pm)