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  • Beijing Diary: Spielberg Reax Simmers, Marketing Notes, More Diving Gold for China


    BOCOG Marketing Director Yuan Bin. (ATR)  
    Spielberg Still in the News

    The fallout of the Steven Spielberg controversy still rains in Beijing, more than a week after he resigned from the Olympic ceremonies creative team.

    "Threats of boycotts dismissed" reads the headline on the Feb. 23 issue of China Daily, the largest English newspaper in the country.

    The story is based on comments earlier this week from IOC President Jacques Rogge to Spanish sport newspaper Marca.

    "I have much respect for Spielberg's decision; and if an athlete doesn't want to go, I'll respect that, too. But the Games will be a success, without a doubt," is how Rogge is quoted in the newspaper.

    "The Games are bigger than any one person."

    Rogge goes on to decry the impact of boycotts, noting that the 1980 Olympics in Moscow were successful despite a U.S.-led boycott.

    "I think boycotts are a thing of the past, not the future," he said.

    "We don't want this to turn into a political demonstration. This is sport," says the IOC President.

    Spielberg quit the Olympics to protest what he believes is the failure of China to compel Sudan to end the violence in Darfur.

    Net Postings Tell Spielberg to Butt Out

    Judging from the bulk of postings on Chinese websites, there's little sympathy for Steven Spielberg's position on Darfur and the Beijing Olympics.

    Here's a sampling of translations from, ATR's internet partner in China:

    "I do not understand why his pull-out. Sudan's situation has no relationship with China or Olympics….

    "Since he boycotted Olympics in Beijing, I plan to boycott Steven Spielberg's movie. I hate his spoiling 2008 Beijing Olympics. China does not need fake artist like you…

    "One of the Chinese foreign affair relation's principles is not interfering other country's domestic affairs. So some people mixed politics with Olympics, it is a shame…

    "Steven Spielberg has his own reason. Let it be….

    BOCOG Marketing Chief Says Controversy Not Dinting Sponsors

    The head of marketing for the Beijing Olympics says the Spielberg resignation will not lead to sponsor defections.

    Speaking to reporters at a BOCOG press conference Wednesday, Yuan Bin says "not a single sponsor told us it plans to quit the marketing program or stop supporting these Olympic Games."

    "China is a responsible country," she said, asserting that "Beijing Olympics will contribute to world peace."

    Li Zhinu, Olympic manager for Adidas also appeared at the marketing briefing. She says the sportswear maker does not involve itself in politics.

    "We will not interfere in the internal affairs of a country. We want to be an active part of the Olympic Games," she said.

    For reasons of confidentiality, Yuan would not disclose the amount of money BOCOG expects to generate from its massive marketing program.
    Li Zhanjun leads press conferences at the Beijing Media Center. (ATR)  
    The list of companies supporting the Games now runs to a record 63. Early estimates from BOCOG targeted marketing revenue of $1 billion. It's likely that figure has been exceeded.

    Yuan says plans are in place for a 20,000 square meter sponsor showcase that will be located on the Olympic Green. The complex will include space for the 11 worldwide sponsors to show off their wares, as well as place for private hospitality.

    Yuan also confirmed a 3,000 square meter space in the Olympic Green as a licensed products superstore.

    She says overseas licensing deals have been struck in Japan, the U.S., Canada and the U.K. Yuan says a firm has been hired to manage deals in smaller overseas markets.

    China Diving Streak at 2

    A 15-year-old has taken the second gold medal for China at the FINA Diving World Cup. Chen Ruolin took first place in the women's 10m platform on day two of the event at the National Aquatics Center.

    Chen, who now moves towards the Games as a favorite for gold, says she has to skip dinner to keep her weight under control.

    "I have to keep the weight and shape or else I cannot complete good quality dives. Sometimes I was so hungry and I only has water to drink. I tell myself to hold on until after the Beijing Games," she said following the competition.

    The world cup, an Olympic qualifying event, has drawn 300+ divers from 54 countries.
    The Grand National Theater in the center of Beijing. (ATR)  

    Around Town…

    The National Center for the Performing Arts is one of the new architectural landmarks the world will see in August. Described by some as a spaceship surrounded by a moat, the venue opened late last year. The hall, just west of Tiananmen Square, is a likely candidate to host the IOC Session opening ceremony in August. BOCOG officials say no decision has been made…

    More indecision? BOCOG is said to still be considering a site for the March 31 arrival of the Olympic Flame from Greece for the launch of the Olympic Torch Relay. The arrival could be the biggest event so far in the run up to the Beijing Olympics, making Tiananmen Square or the Millennium Monument likely candidates for a mass gathering…

    More than 90 heads of state are now expected in Beijing for the opening of the Beijing Olympics, a record for the Games and perhaps a warning sign to expect crushing security and tight transportation controls on August 8…

    Food safety was the topic for a Thursday press conference at the Beijing Media Center…

    Meanwhile, it's the day to eat sweet dumplings in China to mark the end of the Spring Festival….

    With reporting from Ed Hula .

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