The Olympic medal ceremonies are the most thrilling moments for the athletes and audience alike. Adding to the excitement are the glamorous ceremony assistants who represent the beauty and grace of the host nation. In today's program, let's take an up-close look at the girls, and learn their tryst with the Olympics.
Our reporter Du Lijun tells us more.
A white dress and matching jacket with water-and-cloud-embroidered pattern sleeves; neatly styled hair; well-groomed eyebrows; perfect steps, an angelic smile, and there you have the polished look given by the award ceremony assistants for the upcoming Beijing Olympics.
Approximately 380 volunteers will serve as ceremony assistants during the Beijing Olympic Games. Recently, they went for their third training session.
Li Miaomiao says she is lucky to survive all the elimination rounds and cut it as a medal ceremony assistant.
"The Olympic organizers came to my school to select ceremony assistants in April. As a Chinese, I just wanted to do my bit. Only later did I find out that there were more than 70,000 applicants, and every position is being competed by hundreds of applicants."
The Olympics will have 300, while the Paralympics will have 400 medal ceremonies. The girls' task is to hold the medals tray and lead the way for guests and athletes. Clad in traditional costumes, with their elegant posture, they are expected to sparkle on the field.
Feng Silu, another volunteer, says they have gone through rigid training to achieve perfection. During the training sessions, they have to stand in five to six-inch heels with their jaws tucked in while balancing a 16-page book on their head and keeping a sheet of paper between their knees, for at least an hour at a time. If either object fell or slipped from place, they would have to start the exercise all over again.
"We only take a few minutes' rest every a couple of hours. You know, we need to adjust our pace and stride constantly to achieve perfection. When it was break time, even bending my legs hurt. And as we have our stockings on during training, we may wear out two or three pairs each day."
Most of the voluntees are still college students, and they are not used to facing large audiences. Feng Silu says she has figured out a good way to get over her "stage fright".
"Now, whenever I take a stroll, I wear my high heels. Naturally, that attracts the attention of other pedestrians. I need to get used to getting constant attention from others, which is important to make my performance more natural during the medal ceremonies."
For ceremony assistants, another challenge is holding the medals tray. Zhang Xuan reveals how they achieve perfection in this regard.
"We should always keep the medal tray horizontal, while maintaining a fist's distance from the medal tray to our bodies, and between our elbows and waists. And our thumbs should be placed on the tray easily with no strain. During the ceremonies, we shall keep that posture and keep a natural smiling face for a long time, which is, of course, not easy."
Though a perfect posture is not easy to maintain, the volunteers keep an eye on each other to pinpoint every little flaw, and improve themselves bit by bit.
Xu Xuelun talks about the friendships she has established over months of training.
"You know, we live together and train together. And everybody is making efforts to achieve the best performance possible. If there is something wrong with my hair or posture, others will point that out. We make rapid progress this way."
Their hard work has been rewarded. Dale Neuburger, vice president of the International Swimming Federation, speaks highly of their debut performance at the 2007 "Good Luck Beijing" sport events, a trial competition before the Beijing Olympics.
"I know that they try very hard to these positions, very rigorous. What they do in order to qualify to be one of the award assistants at the Olympic Games, and I know they work very hard and they represented themselves, their families and their country very well."
Recently, a series of dresses for the assistants have been displayed. Hopefully, they will dazzle all in these beautiful outfits by the time the Olympics kick off.
Page Editor: Cao Jie