China And The 2008 Olympics: Greetings From Beijing
I'm here thanks to a long plane ride, during which I watched "Blades of Glory"twice and read two books on the history of China. You thought the Boston Celtics were a dynasty? Imagine being dominant for 300 years! Anyway, I've come all this way so that I can bring you all the important business stories of the '08 gameson the year-out anniversary on Wednesday, August 8 and actually throughout next week on CNBC.
Today, I'm talking about the torch relay. Every Olympiad, I think the host committee goes a little bit nuts about how special their torch relay is. In reality, there's nothing that cool about it--though I was a fan of giving the torch to Muhammad Ali at the 1996 Games in Atlanta.
Well, everything is going to bigger for this Olympics. The torch relay spans 85,000 miles this time around--almost double what was the previous record accomplished by the Athens route. I still wasn't impressed until I heard that the folks at the Beijing Olympic Committee are planning on bringing the torch route to the top of Mt. Everest, or as they call it here Mount Qomolangma.
Just days ago, it was revealed that a $20 million, 67-mile road that was being built, which would ease the route of the torchbearers has been put on hold.
While many have written about the controversy of what the road will do to the Tibetan environment, I was more interested in who exactly was going to bring the torch up the final legs on the mountain. After all, one out of every six people who attempt to climb Everest apparently die. So in an interview today with Sun Weide, deputy director of communications for Beijing 2008, I asked him how many candidates they had to do the hard Everest legs. He said they have a list of 50 mountain climbers. All I'm saying is, that if they pull this thing off, I hope that the guys who bring it to the top get more than a couple seconds in a montage video.
I should also say that if the torch doesn't blow out on the top of Everest in those gusty winds, I think we're going to have to question the validity of the flame. Stay tuned. More dispatches from Beijing to follow.
Congratulations To Natalie Gulbis
As you might remember, Gulbiswas part of my sports hottie list that hadn't won a tournament. Well, after going 0-for-149 in LPGA tournaments, Gulbis won this weekend. I said she'd be unmarketable at 0-for-160, so kudos to her. Our focus now shifts to Danica Patrick.Despite people saying that her switch to Andretti Green would lead to a victory, we're still counting. She actually came in second last week, which was impressive, but it doesn't change the "0-for" number. By our count, that now stands at 0-for-41.
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