Exactly 10 years ago today, Beijing welcomed the world to the 2008 Olympic Games. The sporting extravaganza was dubbed “China’s coming-out party” in international media, and the world’s newest superpower grasped every opportunity to impress, most notably with its magnificent sporting facilities.
From the flawless choreography of the Zhang Yimou-directed opening ceremony to eventual domination of the Games’ gold medal count, the message was clear: China had arrived, and its cutting-edge venues, such as the iconic “Bird’s Nest” and the colour-morphing Water Cube (officially Beijing National Stadium and Beijing National Aquatics Centre, respectively), were as good as any on the planet.
Today, a decade later, Beijing’s flagship stadiums remain useful and profitable. The “Bird’s Nest”, for example, does healthy business as a domestic and international tourist attraction, and is scheduled to be used for the opening and closing ceremonies of the 2022 Winter Olympics.
Other 2008 venues, however, have fallen into drastic disrepair.