Day 3: More impressions|
BEIJING (China) - On Thursday, some of us got some more impressions of the immense city of Beijing. The Dutch Olympic Softball Team held another practice session on the Olympic location, but Media Officer Marco Stoovelaar, KNBSB-President Ruud van Zetten and his wife Rienette and KNBSB-Boardmember for Softball Affairs André van Overbeek toured around the city, checking out some of the venues and Olympic sites, as well as some historical landmarks. Unfortunately, the smog was heavier than yesterday, meaning it appeared as if it was very cloudy or foggy today, which can be clearly seen on the photos, but hey, the impressions are there.
Ruud and Rienette van Zetten arrived yesterday from Korea, where they watched the Dutch Olympic Baseball Team play four exhibition games, while André van Overbeek flew in from the Netherlands and arrived yesterday-morning.
Marco, Ruud, Rienette and André first went by Fengtai Softball Field, then visited Wukesong Baseball Stadium.
Both locations were closed for visitors. Security-personnel were on hand to guard the entrances, while inside final preparations were done for the softball and baseball tournaments, which open next Tuesday and Wednesday.
When we drove passed the practice field of the softball-complex, we could see that the Venezuelan team was having a practice session.
We then went to the Olympic Village and passed the Gymnastics Stadium, went by the International Broadcast Center (IBC) and Main Press Center (MPC) and finally drove by the National Stadium, which became a wellknown structure, because of its architecture and nickname 'Bird's Nest'.
Then, it was on to the Holland Heineken House, which will be the get-together site in Beijing for all Dutch Olympic athletes, supporters, dignitaries, artists, etc. It also will be the location for the daily TV-talkshow of NOS Studio Sport, hosted by Mart Smeets.
When we left, we were greeted by Erica Terpstra, the Chairman of the NOC*NSF, who later in the afternoon officially opened the Holland Heineken House, together with Charlene Heineken de Carvalho, the daughter of the late Freddy Heineken.
His Royal Highness Crownprince Willem-Alexander also attended the inivitation-only meeting, as were some Chinese dignitaries.
It is the ninth time that there is a Holland Heineken House during an Olympic Games.
In the morning, Erica Terpstra also was on hand when the Dutch Olympic Delegation was officially welcomed in the Olympic Village.
The softball-team, baseball-team and women hockey-team and a judo-delegation attended this ceremony, which was described as emotional by some, especially when the Dutch flag was raised and the national anthem was played.
It gave most of the athletes the feeling that the Olympic Games are now starting for real.
The city also has an Olympic-fever. On our drive around the city, we saw a lot of Olympic logos, artwork is the water, besides the roads, in the grass, etc.
And of course, a lot of different nationalities walking around, including some athletes, such as members of the Argentinian basketball-team, who were continuously halted by people for photos and signatures.
From the Holland Heineken House, the four of us went to the famous Silk Street, where it is a sport to buy jewelry and silk dressings as cheap as possible.
In the evening, the Van Zetten's and Marco went to the impressive Tian'anmen Square for the ceremony of lowering the National Flag to conclude out day.
The Tian'anmen Square is the largest urban central square in the world and can take a million people altogether.
By the way, for some athletes the Olympics already started, as the soccer-tournament is underway.
The first Dutch athletes to get into action were the soccer-players, but they played a scoreless 0-0 tie vs. Nigeria.
Also today, the Dutch Olympic Baseball Team had its first practice session in Beijing, but also suffered a possible loss.
Pitcher Loek van Mil sustained an arm-injury and was taken to a hospital for a MRI-scan.
While Van Mil had pain, his status is not clear yet. The first reports state that the injury might be minor, but it remains unclear, as of now, whether Van Mil can throw during the Olympic baseball-tournament.
After practicing again tomorrow, the baseball-team will two more exhibition games in Beijing in the weekend (both vs. Canada), while the softball-team will have three more practice sessions starting on Saturday.
The Opening Ceremony is now less than 24 hours away!
Pitcher Loek van Mil (right) on his way to the Welcoming Ceremony
He would later leave the team and return to the USA due to an injury
(Photo taken by Caroline Theunissen)
Members of the Dutch Olympic Delegation during the Welcoming Ceremony in the Olympic Village
NOC*NSF President Erica Terpstra and Dutch Olympic Team Chef de Mission Charles van Commenée
speak with the athletes during the Welcoming Ceremony in the Olympic Village
(Photo taken by Rebecca Soumeru/Petra van Heijst)
Head Coach Liz Kelly with NOC*NSF President Erica Terpstra
(Photo taken by Linda Wells)
Volunteers leave the softball-field after having a briefing inside
KNBSB-President Ruud van Zetten checks what's going on at the softball stadium
Alongside the roads around the softball-stadium, flower baskets have the shape of a softball
The Wukesong Baseball Stadium
The main building of the Olympic Gymnastics site
Some buildings of the Olympic Village
The Main Press Center
The National Olympic Stadium or 'Bird's Nest'
The Holland Heineken House
The Holland Heinken House, which is located in the National Agriculture Exhibition Center
Chinese flags are waving in almost every street
The entrance of Silk Street
Replicas of the famous Terracota Warriors can be bought in Silk Street
KNBSB-President Ruud van Zetten checks the jewelry department
Lots of shops selling silk products are inside the building with six floors
Players of the Argentine basketball-team are constantly asked to pose for photos
The immense and impressive Tian'anmen Square
Another impressive building: the Great Hall of the People,
which houses the national government
Qian Men Gate, which lead to the Forbidden City (yes, we will go there later)
A welcome sign in the hotel where some of the Dutch delegates are staying
The Tian An Men Gate with the wellknown portrait of China's Political Chairman Mao Zedong
KNBSB-Chairman Ruud van Zetten talks baseball and softball with locals
Soldiers march towards the National Flag on Tian'anmen Square to lower it
In the back is the National Museum of China
The portrait of Mao Zedong
After the flag-lowering ceremony, fountains are spraying colored water
The lighted China People's Revolution Military Museum
Go back to the schedule of the Olympic Games