On Saturday, Tian and I took a day trip to the Beijing National Stadium and National Aquatic Center, commonly known as the “Birds Nest” and “Water Cube” respectively. Both were used during the 2008 Summer Olympics and saw many amazing moments in sports history from Usain Bolt’s world records in the 100 and 200m sprints to Michael Phelps’ 8 gold-medals in swimming.
When we arrived, things looked a lot different than they would have one year ago. There were some visitors, but no real crowds. And the venues themselves were idle, except for the tourists walking around them.
After doing some research, I found out that since last year both buildings have had trouble attracting events to their spaces. In response, the Chinese are planning to redevelop the entire area into a shopping and entertainment center. I wonder how many cities that host the Olympics have a hard time re-purposing their new infrastructure.