Beijing to be an inspiration for 2010: Campbell
Published Monday, August 11, 2008 9:30AM EDT
Last Updated Friday, May 18, 2012 8:47PM EDT
The spectacular opening to the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing has given the 2010 Winter Games in Vancouver some inspiration, says B.C. Premier Gordon Campbell.
"It's going to be Canadian, it's going to be Canada," Campbell told CTV's Canada AM from Beijing on Monday about the opening ceremonies for Vancouver.
"We certainly want to be able to accomplish for Canada what I think the opening ceremonies accomplished for China.
"I'd like every Canadian to be inspired by the opening to the 2010 Winter Olympic and Paralympic Games. I'd like the world to feel they know a little bit more about Canada as the opening ceremonies close."
The Chinese people were deeply touched by the opening ceremonies, he said. Those ceremonies highlighted ancient China's four great contributions to the world -- gunpowder, paper, printing and the compass.
"Certainly that's what we're striving for in British Columbia," Campbell said. "It's Canada's Olympics, it's Canada's opportunity to remind the world of what we're going to be in the 21st century."
Executives with VANOC have said planning for the 2010 Games opening ceremonies are well underway. David Atkins, the Australian veteran of the Sydney 2000 Olympics who is producing the 2010 ceremonies, told Vancouver2010.com on Aug. 7 that producing the ceremonies takes up to three years.
"The opening ceremonies that have been the most successful are the ones that either define or redefine the culture in way that brings pride to the national audience, and a greater understanding of the essential elements of the culture of the Host Country to the global audience," he said.
A worldwide audience estimated at four billion watched at least part of the Beijing opening ceremonies. In Chinese areas of downtown Toronto on Sunday, small groups of people could be seen still watching replays.
Many people in Beijing are talking about the incredible architecture, but Campbell said what's impressed him about the Games so far is the "exceptional" army of volunteers.
"Literally thousands and thousands of people are volunteering here. They are incredibly hospitable. They want to help everybody in every way they can. They just couldn't be better representatives of China," he said.
Transportation planning is another area in which China deserves top marks, the premier said.
"I was here in May. The difference between transportation now ... and (then) is just like night and day. It's amazing the way they transformed the city," he said.
Vancouver is currently building a light-rail transit link from its airport to downtown, where most of the Vancouver venues are located.
However, a rockslide did close the Sea to Sky Highway recently -- the key road link to the skiing venues at Whistler, about 135 kilometres from Vancouver.
Campbell has said the many rocky cliffs and hillsides above the road will be inspected before the Games begin on Feb. 12, 2010.
The province has budgeted $780 million to widen and otherwise improve the road.
Emerson meets counterpart
Foreign Affairs Minister David Emerson met Monday with his Chinese counterpart, CTV's Lisa LaFlamme told Canada AM.
Diplomats described the meetings as "constructive" and set the scene for future "constructive engagement" on issues like consular relations and human rights, she said.
Prime Minister Stephen Harper didn't attend the opening ceremonies, although world leaders like U.S. President George Bush did, LaFlamme said.
Those leaders have been seen holding meetings with China's President Hu Jintao, she said.
In other Olympics news:
- Seven more Canadians were deported from China on Sunday and early Monday over pro-Tibet protests, bringing the total to eight. However, one Canadian said his group wasn't involved in any protests.
- A Spanish cyclist has been kicked out of the Games over a doping scandal. Maria Isabel Moreno had tested positive for EPO, a blood-boosting hormone. She will also be banned from the 2012 Games in London.
- U.S. President George Bush declared that the Beijing Games had "exceeded expectations." On Sunday, he had issued a call for greater religious freedom in China and had issued statements on the conflict between Russia and Georgia.
- A woman wounded in a bizarre stabbing in Beijing has been upgraded to stable from critical. Barbara Bach's husband Todd died in the attack, which also left their Chinese interpreter wounded.
- The IOC has accepted the explanation of an Iranian swimmer who pulled out of a competition that also involved an Israeli swimmer. "We take both the athlete and the national Olympic committee at their word on this," IOC spokeswoman Giselle Davies said Monday. Iran could have faced sanctions for boycotting the event. The Islamic country doesn't recognize Israel.
- After four days of competition, Canada still hasn't won a medal.