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Olympic Visitors Give Beijing High Marks


International visitors to the Olympic stadiums in Beijing have - for the most part - come for the sport, not politics, to cheer for their countries and enjoy the athletic competition. And as VOA's Brian Padden reports many have positive to things to say about their hosts.

They have come to root for their home team. The number of international fans is small in comparison to the Chinese fans at this Olympics in Beijing. But these guests, like Dudley Theil from the United States, have nothing but praise for their host. "The people are nice and they treat you with a lot of respect," Dudley said. "And I never felt safer walking around."

Leticia Denis from France gives China high marks for the innovative design of its "Bird's Nest" National Stadium and "Water Cube" National Aquatics Center. At night these impressive structures come alive in a display of colorful lights. "In my opinion the Olympic grounds are very good and also the environment. It's the top, better than the other [international] competitions," Denis said.

There have been some frustrations for these fans. Ingo Hudum from Germany says the Chinese bought up most of the 6.8 million tickets to Olympic events and he does not want to buy from the illegal scalpers who are charging up to 10 times the cost for tickets to the popular events.

"As a foreigner you get no tickets. We had no chance to get tickets. I think that's the great problem," Ingo Hidum said.

But those who do get in, like Susan Robinson from Britain, are enjoying the Olympic experience and the surprisingly clean air and blue skies that appeared in the second week of competition. "When I first got here, it was very smoggy and polluted and you could almost breathe in grains of sand," she said. "But since the Olympics started, they have kind of done something about it. It seems to have cleaned up quite a bit. Lovely sunny days."

The lovely sunny days have amazed many international visitors, already impressed with the money and enthusiasm China invested into staging these Olympic games.