Last night, I attended the track and field events (formally known as ‘athletics’) in the National Stadium also known as the ‘Birds Nest’. The 91,000-person stadium is massive. Just circulating around the structure once is like walking two miles. The open air structure leaves for spectacular views of the Beijing skyline and the Olympic Green Village. The obtuse concrete pillars are architecturally interesting as they form complex web shapes of the stadium. My seat was mid-field, on the 5th of 6 tiers. The enormity of the venue could be felt form this central location. However, it was difficult to feel part of the event itself, as the athletes were just tiny figures view from hundreds of feet away. Two enormous monitors were at either end of the field to see the activity up close, but this was the equivalent of sitting at home in front of the TV. The tactic at this event, as well as others, is to do whatever it takes to get a better seat. The idea is to scope for empty seats up front, then pounce upon them just at the moment the event begins. At one point, I was fortunate to get to ground level, next to a group of rowdy Ethiopian fans. Ethiopia won the men’s 10,000-meter run. To say they were overjoyed is an understatement!
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