The Countdown Is Over, Let the Games Begin

Samsung's Eco-Friendly Pavilion Opened With Music and Fanfare

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Jeffrey Bonin
Jeffrey Bonin
When I arrived to work on this Olympic project, the Omega countdown clocks in Beijing still had more than 150 days left. The chilly March wind was blowing dust around the barren earth that was destined to become every Olympic sponsor's dream.

In April, the steel arrived. As the days grew warmer and the monsoon rains arrived, the green became a mud wrestler's dream. Record-breaking rains in May then turned into a boggy nightmare. Now the flowers are in bloom, the pathways are swept clean and the pavilions are open for touring -- including the one I've been working on.

On Aug. 5, Samsung opened the doors to its pavilion for the first time at 7 p.m., just as people were pouring out of the subway station behind us on their way to attend a rehearsal for tonight's opening-night ceremony.
Samsung's Olympic pavilion in Beijing
Samsung's Olympic pavilion in Beijing
We had the official Olympic marching band, with musicians from high schools and universities all over the world. They paid their own way to get here too. The stage and VIP areas were packed with a bizarre mixture of people -- singing children, supermodels, belly dancers, people dressed as cartoon characters, all covered in confetti. It was a multimedia extravaganza befitting a high-tech venue designed to impress and attract Olympic athletes and other VIPs and persuade them to hang out in the lounge and hear performances on the stage.

In keeping with Beijing's promise to deliver a "green" Olympic experience, the pavilion was built with lots of cool green stuff like sun pipes that bring light into the building to charge phones, a recycled bar in the VIP lounge made of plastic bottle tops, and a place to dump old mobile phones for recycling.

It will help, of course, if Beijing pulls off their anti-pollution plans and we have sunshine to power those pipes. During the last few months, Beijing has had few clear days. But if the weather guys tackle their job as well as the construction crews that built the green, my hopes are high. And now, let the games begin.

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