Competition venues for next year's Beijing Olympics have been completed according to plan, an official said Friday, with the only outstanding project -- the 91,000-seat National Stadium -- scheduled to be finished by March.
Construction for the Games that begin Aug. 8 have hummed along, with workers laboring around the clock. Unlike the Athens games of four years ago, there will be no last-minute scramble to finish venues.
"This year, venue construction was under way according to plan. All the new venues were finished as scheduled by the end of the year," said Jiang Xiaoyu, spokesman and executive vice president for the Beijing Games.
Though he did not give specifics, 36 of the 37 competition venues were to be finished by Dec. 31. The National Stadium, nicknamed the "Bird's Nest" because of its exterior lattice work of enormous twisted beams, was expected to be finished by March.
Next to the "Bird's Nest" is the swimming venue that is covered by a translucent, blue-toned skin that makes it look like a cube of bubbles. Jiang said it has been completed.
"There is a test event next January and we are making preparations for the test event now. If there wasn't this event we might not fill the pool now, but because of the event of course we have to fill the pool," Jiang said.
Beijing is spending an estimated $40 billion to modernize for the Olympics.