Hearing the name Qingdao men-tioned in casual conversation,for many what first comes tomind is the world-famous beerthat is brewed there, Tsingtao. Others morepersonally acquainted with the seaside citymay recall summer resorts and European-styled architecture tucked in among lushboscages. But soon the city will be betterknown for a momentous sporting occasion－the 2008 Olympic sailing events.
"During the 2008 Olympics, in Qing-dao the greatest number of gold medals willbe awarded, compared to other Olympiccompetition venues outside Beijing. It isestimated that the pending Olympic sailingevents will accelerate the city's develop-ment by eight to 10 years," explained WangHaitao, spokesman for the Qingdao Munici-pal Government, during an interview withthis reporter.
The Qingdao International Sailing Cen-ter, at the city's eastern edge on the shore ofFushan Bay, features dramatic picturesquelandscapes and four docks especially con-structed for oceanic sporting events. Thebay was formerly occupied by the BeihaiShipyard. After the shipyard relocated, thesite was ideally suited for the developmentof competition and training venues.
Although it was mid-summer, the air wasa little cool when I rose early in the morn-ing. Exiting the doors of the hotel, I saw thatthe entire city was bathed in warm morningsunlight, and flowers and lawns were in fullbloom and lush. It was a rare opportunity toenjoy this beautiful city, since the prior dayI was busy with interviews.