2008-07-13 09:42:55 GMT 2008-07-13 17:42:55 (Beijing Time) Xinhua English
People celebrate the success of the Beijing's 2008 Olympic Games bid at the China Millenium Monument in Beijing on July 13, 2001. (Xinhua File Photo)
Photo taken on May 16, 2008 shows a light in the shape of the National Stadium. The National Stadium, also known as the bird's nest will be the main track and field stadium for the 2008 Summer Olympic Games and serves as venue to the Opening and Closing ceremonies of the games.(Xinhua Photo)
Photo taken on Feb. 23, 2008 shows the outer view of the National Aquatics Center at night in Beijing, capital of China. The National Aquatics Center, nicknamed the "Water Cube", covered with more than 3,000 Ethylene Tetrafluoroethylene (ETFE) air cushions, is not only the first of its kind in China, but also the world's largest and most complex ETFE project. It was built in accordance with a water-saving design concept, a gigantic green architectural wonder. (Xinhua Photo)
Members of the Lanjian Commando attend an anti-terrorism drill in Beijing, capital of China, July 11, 2008. The 120-member special police force is charged with the anti-terrorism task during the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games, to be held in August. (Xinhua Photo)
Photo taken on May 16, 2008 shows the translucent roof of the National Stadium. The National Stadium, also known as the bird's nest will be the main track and field stadium for the 2008 Summer Olympic Games and serves as venue to the Opening and Closing ceremonies of the games. (Xinhua Photo)
BEIJING, July 13 (Xinhua) -- When He Zhenliang, a then member of the International Olympic Committee's Executive Board, presented the last statement of the Beijing's 2008 bid on behalf of China in Moscow on July 13, 2001, he and the Chinese people were already determined to live up to their words.
"Choosing Beijing as the host city for the Olympics, you will bring the first ever Games in Olympic history to a nation containing one-fifth of the world's population, and 1.3 billion Chinese people will dedicate their efforts to the Olympic Movement," said He.
"If you award the chance of hosting the Olympics to Beijing, I can assure you that seven years later you will be proud of the decision you make today."
Seven years after He made the promise, the Beijing organizers have turned the bid into reality.
Unlike that of previous Olympics, Beijing's prep work has kept to plan and some stadiums and infrastructure have even been finished ahead of schedule.
The city has spent 40 billion U.S. dollars on infrastructure, including a new airport terminal and subway lines, as well as 2.1 billion U.S. dollars to cover the cost of running the Games.
The torch relay, now progressing on Chinese soil, is the longest ever in the Olympic history, lasting 130 days and covering 137,000 kilometers (85,000 miles) worldwide.
The holy flame was also carried to the top of the Mt. Qomolangma for the first time in history, a grand ascent hailed by the whole world as heroism.
Even after the massive quake rocked southwest China's Sichuan province on May 12 and already claimed around 70,000 lives, the organizers quickly picked up themselves from mourning and continued the fine-tuning on the Games.
"The Chinese people have pledged to the world to host a successful Olympic Games. To honor those killed in the earthquake, my colleagues and I feel obliged to make the Beijing Olympics a great success," said Wang Pingjiu, a staff member of the Beijing Organizing Committee for the Olympic Games (BOCOG).
Beijing subway passengers have been receiving security checks starting from June 29 as China beefs up security.
National-level anti-terrorist drills were launched to prepare the security forces against chemical attacks, hijacking and other possible contingencies. Sniffer dogs will be brought into the capital to help detect explosives.
Beginning from June, the country's postal service has suspended mailing parcels containing liquids until Oct. 31, following a previous liquid ban introduced in April on carry-on baggage in domestic flights.
Since being awarded the 2008 Games seven years ago, Beijing has engaged in an aggressive effort to clean up the capital's air pollution and ease traffic on the clogged highways. The city has spent nearly more than 15 billion U.S. dollars on anti-pollution measures such as moving factories and adding subway.
The latest move was taking 300,000 high-emission cars off its roads early this month and Beijing also announced that private cars will be banned on alternate days from July 20, depending on whether their number plates end in odd or even numbers.
The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has warned it may reschedule endurance events to remove a potential health risk but now the fears seem to be dwindling amid the continual improvement of the air quality.
The earthquake has taken off much of the country's festive mood towards the Games, but will in no way take away China's enthusiasm for hosting the Beijing Games.
People lined the torch relay routes, unfurling the national and Olympic flags and shouting "Go China Go" and "Go Olympics Go".
"Holding the Olympics is a century-long dream for the Chinese, and we have been preparing and looked forward to it since July 13,2001," said Deng Yaping, a four-times Olympic table tennis gold winner when she visited the children in the quake areas.
"We have taught the children a lot about the Olympics in the last seven years, and the kids have already known about the Olympic spirit - higher, faster, stronger," added Deng, now a Beijing Olympic official preparing the Olympic village. "They really like the Fuwa (mascot) we give them, and we hope that they never give up in life and pursue their best."
Besides, various campaigns aimed at improving the behavior of local citizens finally turned the tide. More and more people are getting to abandon bad habits like spitting, not queuing up, smoking anywhere, swearing in Beijing dialect and littering.
A survey released by Renmin University of China in February found that in 2007, 2.54 percent of people still spat, roughly a half of the figure for 2006, and the occurrence of littering in public dropped from 5.3 percent in 2006 to 2.86 percent in 2007 and queue-jumping from 6 percent to 1.5 percent.