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A Precious Olympic Ticket from Koeln Mayor
    2008-10-02 19:24:28     Xinhua
by Wu Liming

Koeln mayor Fritz Schramma tabled an Olympic ticket on the desk on Wednesday at his office, with full pride on his smiling face.

It was a ticket for women's fencing final of the Beijing Olympic Games, reading "Row 1, Seat 11". It was a common Olympic ticket, nothing special. For Schramma, however, the ticket is "very special ", "very precious".

The ticket, offered by Beijing city government, was for Schramma to watch the fencing final of Britta Heidemann, who is from Koeln and was appointed by Schramma as "Ambassadress of Koeln" in the Beijing Olympic Games.

"I went to the stadium with a flag of Koeln in my hands, Heidemann saw me before the competition," Schramma recalled.

"The moment when Heidemann won the gold medal, I gave the flag to her and she waved our flag around the stadium," said he.

"I was really proud of that," Schramma repeated.

A little bit pity for Schramma was that the Chinese audience did not recognize the flag of Koeln, so they kept asking which country Heidemann was from, the mayor recalled, smiling.

Schramma is a renowned fan of sports, he liking football and gymnastics.

As Koeln is a sister city of Beijing, the Beijing Olympic Games means a lot to Schramma.

When Beijing won the bid to host the Olympic Games in 2001, Schramma said he was "very pleased" with the news, saying that Beijing would be a good arena for athletes to stage their performance, particularly for those from Koeln, Beijing's sister city.

On Aug. 9, the day after the opening of Beijing Olympic Games, Schramma flew to Beijing to watch the games because he did not want to miss the great event.

"I watched two games, one for Heidemann, the other was in the Bird Nest," Schramma said.

Till now, Schramma still carefully keeps the ticket for the fencing final, which looks brand new.

Schramma told Xinhua that he had a grand idea, that is, to invite Olympic medallists from Koeln to sign the ticket.

"Then I will find a chance to auction it, and donate the money to the charity," Schramma said, with pride on his face.

On Wednesday evening (Oct.1), Schramma put his idea into practice.

Schramma host a grand welcoming ceremony at the city hall of Koeln, awarding all the Koeln-born athletes who had attended the Beijing Olympics and Paraolympics.

"Of our 20 athletes from Koeln, 13 got medals including 11 gold medals," Schramma said proudly, adding that all Koeln people were also "proud" of the athletes.

At the interval of the ceremony, Schramma asked the medallists to put their signatures on his precious Olympic ticket.

Ole Bischof, who won the 81 kg judo gold medal, signed the ticket. Timo Wess, captain of German National Hockey Team, and his teammates also followed suit.

Schramma's plan was on the way.

"Olympics has changed Beijing a lot, it helped boost the social and economic development of Beijing as well as of China at large," Schramma said.

Holding this precious Olympic ticket in his hands, Schramma said he hoped that the Olympic spirit would last forever in Beijing, Koeln's sister city.
 
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