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Grand designs

Beijing OlympicsWhoever wins the bid for the 2012 Olympics will have trouble upstaging Beijing, which hosts the Games in four years time. Andrew Mylius reports.

Chinese authorities have suffered from a minor crisis of confidence in the last year, following fears that projects for the 2008 Olympics were superheating the nation's already turbo-charged construction economy. The pell-mell pace of construction drew a caution from the International Olympic Committee, which advised the Beijing Games organiser BOCOG to throttle back. Foundations work for both the main stadium and swimming complex are already well advanced, and structural steel is scheduled to start erection mid-2005; completion was scheduled for late 2006.

BOCOG responded by demanding that designs for key sports venues, including the main stadium and swimming complex, were reviewed and pared back.

Slimming down has taken place and completion dates have been pushed back by a few months, but to the casual observer the structures look little changed - and still absolutely crazy.

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