Dmitry Chernyshenko, who heads the organising committee for the Winter Olympics in Russia's Sochi in 2014, is writing for the BBC from Beijing.
The Olympic spirit is everywhere in Beijing. Even far from the sports venues, you can still feel that the city is hosting the Games.
I'm not just talking about clean streets, new buildings, good roads and
sparkling hotels. The Games add another dimension to Beijing, making it
more energetic than I can ever remember and giving people here a fresh
view of life. I'm sure that the same thing will happen in my native city
of Sochi in 2014.
I have been looking closely at Beijing life and want to share my
impressions with you.
Fans of all ages have turned out to celebrate the Beijing Games
Chinese people are very friendly. This more than makes up for the
occasional lack of strong English speakers. But some of the
communication difficulties result in funny moments. For example, I spent
15 minutes explaining to a taxi driver that I wanted to go to the Great
Wall where the cycling competitions are taking place. After getting
nowhere in English, I started to speak Russian and it rescued me.
The driver actually understood Russian better than English!
It is quite easy to get around Beijing during the Games.
You can use buses and the underground. Moreover, it is free for members of
the Olympic family. The Chinese have constructed a special underground
line to Olympic venues. It's a great way to ensure you're on time and
not held up in traffic, even with the dedicated Olympic lanes on roads
set up for cars.
Right now in Beijing they are enforcing a traffic reduction rule: cars
with an even registration number can go out on the even dates of the
month and vice versa with the odd numbers. The result is simple: half
the cars on the roads during the Games. But even so there are occasions
when the traffic is heavy - especially when everyone heads for the
Olympic Green at night, such as after Usain Bolt won that incredible
Recently I went with some colleagues to see one of the women's field hockey matches. Although I found the sport quite unusual, the most
incredible thing about the day was seeing a group of people in the
stadium wearing matching T-shirts. We found out that these people had
helped to build the Olympic venues in Beijing.
Road restrictions have helped to ease traffic in Beijing
I was very touched by the attitude of our Chinese hosts towards
these people who had played a very important, but often overlooked role
in the staging of the Olympics. We too must not forget the people who
help make our Winter Games in Sochi come to life.
I also believe that the Games are reflecting Chinese culture well. The
country's style and tradition is everywhere, from the opening ceremony
through to the competition venues themselves. A few days ago I found a cultural showcase in the middle of the Olympic Green called "China Story", where you can learn about the history of China, local life and even try to write Chinese characters. Of course, it's difficult to learn, but it's interesting to see your name written out in Mandarin.
Naturally, I'm following the performance of Russian athletes closely and
was very proud of the performance of our female tennis players, who
managed a clean sweep of gold, silver and bronze in the individual
competition. I was really impressed by the Russian fans who had
travelled from all over our country to watch the matches in Beijing.
Some guys from Novosibirsk even stretched out a big 'Russia-Novosibirsk'
flag along the whole stand!
The Beijing Games are proving to be a great success
Most didn't know who to support in the final - Elena Dementieva or
Dinara Safina! In the end they supported both, calling to Safina when
she was losing: "Stand firm!" and when Dementieva lost form: "Lena, we
are with you!" So to be at the Olympic final with that kind of
atmosphere and watching two Russian athletes, was a real privilege.