Gu Yaoming is feeling it. Not just the winter shivers, which might lead first-time visitors from China to believe Seattle would be a better site for a winter sports event than...
Gu Yaoming is feeling it.
Not just the winter shivers, which might lead first-time visitors from China to believe Seattle would be a better site for a winter sports event than summer.
Also a good vibe.
“People here have a very friendly feeling towards China,” said Gu, secretary general of the Chinese Olympic Committee.
He was one of more than two dozen top-level Olympic brass and consulate officials at a downtown reception kicking off meetings to plan the Pacific Rim Sports Summit, which will bring top athletes from nine nations to the Puget Sound area June 7-12 for a wide-ranging series of Olympic-sport events.
They’re mostly Summer Games sports, ranging from basketball to synchronized swimming. But a few winter sports, notably short-track speedskating, featuring local gold medalist Apolo Ohno, will be thrown into the mix.
Last night, one of the Summit’s crucial elements — financing — was unveiled. Boeing will do the heavy lifting there, contributing what company vice president Bob Watt would only call a significant donation to the event.
Boeing will be the official “host” of the sports summit, and also a major sponsor of the corresponding arts festival.
Sponsoring the event, which organizing-committee head Bob Walsh said has a budget of about $10 million, is an extension of Boeing’s longstanding outreach to Asia and the Pacific Rim, Watt said. “This is a beautiful way to do it.”
Other sponsors will include Washington Dental Service, the Port of Seattle, Swedish Medical Center, Holland America, United Airlines and Hilton Hotels. Members of some of those entities sit on the organizing board for the sports summit, which the United States Olympic Committee sees as a key to what could be a long-term sports-event association with the Seattle area.
High on the agenda for meetings of the Olympic officials this week will be the 2006 sports summit. Seattle has committed to host the event this year and in 2007, as a lead-in to the 2008 Summer Games in Beijing. Beijing has been asked to host the competition in 2006.
“This has not been decided,” Gu said last night.
Boeing, for its part, already is on board for ’07. It’s unclear where, or whether, the ’06 event would take place if China can’t make it work.
In Olympic circles, Beijing organizers are said to be very advanced in Games preparation — far more so than many past hosts at this point in the Olympic countdown.
The world expects a major show from China — both in terms of Olympic presentation and in the medal count. But Games officials already are trying to cool those expectations.
“We know we are far away from America” in the Summer Games medal standings, Gu said. “We have a very long distance to go.”
The athletic schedule for the sports summit will be announced later this month. Tickets for the summit go on sale Feb. 1 through Ticketmaster.
Ron Judd: 206-464-8280 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.