5 Aug 2009

Birds Nest and Water Cube lying idle after the Olympics

4:29 pm on 5 August 2009

The Bird's Nest Olympic stadium in Beijing has hardly been used for sports events since the Games a year ago, while just a corner of the Water Cubic aquatic centre has become a public swimming pool.

Even if the venues were never designed with an eye to their long-term benefits, they are now taking up valuable Beijing real estate, triggering speculation about what to do with the monuments to the city's Olympic glory.

The 80,000-seat Bird's Nest is crowded with sightseers every day, but Beijing officials want to reserve it for prestigious events meaning local football is out of the question.

China feels a need to be picky about future events, too, because they cannot be seen to debase the symbolic value the venues have, especially in the minds of the Chinese.