The Official Website of the Beijing 2008 Olympic GamesAugust 8-24 2008
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Beijing Olympic Village etches a place for itself in Olympic history

Updated: 2008-08-16 02:22:37
Press conference: Operation of Olympic Village
Scene of the press conference

Full coverage on Press Conference on Operation of Olympic Village

(BEIJING, August 15) -- The Olympic Village of the 2008 Beijing Games is making some Olympic history of its own. Four-time Olympic Ping Pong gold medalist and Olympic Village spokeswoman, Deng Yaping, revealed the record-breaking details at Beijing's Main Press Center on Friday.

The first record -- the Village's main dining hall has served more guests in one day than any other village in the history of the Olympic Games. On opening day, the main dining hall served 18,634 guests. In comparison, 9,876 guests were served at the opening of the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games while a roughly equivalent 10,515 guests were served at opening day in Athens.

The main dining hall continues to be a favorite stop for Olympic athletes. The number of Beijing ducks served up each day jumped from around 300 at the beginning of the Games to a whopping 600 ducks per day.

The Beijing Olympic Village has also received the largest number of international dignitaries in the history of the Olympic Games. As of Thursday, 62 leaders had visited the village, including French President Nicolas Sarkozy, Prime Minister of Russia Vladimir Putin, Japanese Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda, and Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd.

International Olympic Committee (IOC) President Jacques Rogge and his predecessor Juan Antonio Samaranch have both paid visits the Olympic Village. Mr. Rogge lived in the Village for three days. He can still be spotted on morning jogs within the complex's perimeter.

The Beijing Village is setting other Olympic records on the "green" front. On Wednesday, Olympic Village Mayor Chen Zhili was given the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) award. U.S. Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson, the presenter of the award, said the Village was an example of U.S.-China cooperation on energy and environmental issues, urging a continuation of similar joint U.S.-China efforts.

The Olympic Village itself includes a near-zero energy building that generates most of the power for the Village's heating and cooling systems through renewable energy sources such as solar cells and geothermal heat pumps. Technical assistance for the project was provided by the U.S. Department of Energy.

Apart from making leaps and bounds in environmental Olympic history, the Beijing Olympic Village is welcoming record numbers of international visitors. The Village has already hosted more receptions for individual country delegations than any other Olympic Games. The Village has held receptions for 204 different National Olympic Committees (NOCs), with an astonishing 51 delegation receptions held in one day.

Ms. Deng spoke proudly of the international recognition the Village has received, including some 50 letters of praise from NOC delegations and other well-wishers. Deng also spoke more modestly of the Village's room for improvement: "We have laid a solid foundation but we still have a long way to go. We hope all of our staff members and volunteers will work even harder and double their efforts."

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