Olympics Unscathed By Quake

According to an official Beijing Olympics representative, none of the 31 venues built for the event was damaged in the 7.9-magnitude earthquake that struck southwest China May 12.

Sun Weide, deputy director for the Olympic media and communication department, told reporters, "The new buildings are earthquake-proof to a high degree and no damage was done." The venues are located in Beijing and six other host cities.

The earthquake was so strong that it could be felt as far away as Hong Kong and Taipei. Many people in Beijing felt shaking, but Sun said that the Olympic organizing committee felt nothing and "worked through the quake."

He also said that Beijing itself is in an earthquake zone, and that this was taken into consideration when Olympic venues were planned and constructed.

Li Jiulin, the engineer in chief for the new National Stadium, familiarly known as "The Bird’s Nest" because of its unusual form, said that the building has been designed to withstand a temblor as high as 8.0 on the Richter scale.

As of press time, more than 41,000 were killed in the earthquake, with more than 32,000 missing.