Fri, August 08, 2008
Sports > Popular News

Where is the cauldron?

2008-08-08 12:02:40 GMT2008-08-08 20:02:40 (Beijing Time) Xinhua English

BEIJING, Aug. 8 (Xinhua) -- Beijing Olympics organizers seem to have made up their minds to keep the secret till the last second.

Less than one hour before the opening ceremony, the Olympic cauldron, which will soon be ignited to signal the start of the Games, is still no where to find within the National Stadium.

Inside the stadium, also known as the Bird's Nest, audiences have started to pack the stands and pre-show has started with deafening music and festive dances. However, except several flag masts, no upright columns could be seen around.

The lighting of the Beijing Olympic cauldron has stirred massive speculation. The organizers have said that the cauldron ignition as well as the person who will be chosen to light the cauldron are "top secrets".

"The cauldron lighting is the climax of the show and it explains comprehensively the concept of the Beijing Games," Zhang Yimou, artistic director for the opening ceremony, said Thursday.

Zhang said his team has received thousands of suggestions on the cauldron, from "drilling the wood to get the fire" to use Phoenix, an immortal bird in the Chinese mythology, to light the flame. But apparently, the two options have been excluded.

Several Chinese athletes had also been tipped to light the Olympic flame at the opening ceremony, including gold medal hurdler Liu Xiang, basketball star Yao Ming and paralyzed former gymnast Sang Lan. But as they have all participated in the torch relay in Beijing, their chances of being the last torch bearer are also gone.

The Bird's Nest occupies a floor space of 258,000 square meters and more than 910,000 are expected to attend the opening ceremony. The Olympic flame is expected to be lit at around 11:30.

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