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Athletes, Officials and Spectators Leave Beijing after Olympic Games
    2008-08-26 09:09:44     CRIENGLISH.com

  The Beijing Olympics may be over, but on Monday the race to the airport begins for tens of thousands of athletes, officials and the media.

For 16 days the Games stunned the world, but on Monday the memories and medals were packed into suitcases for the flight home.

For the athletes who have made the Olympic Village their home for the past three weeks, it was a last chance for a team hug before bidding a fond farewell.

Australian gymnast Georgia Bonora admitted she was leaving with mixed emotions.

"I'm feeling like it's good to be leaving and sad to be leaving at the same time because I'm leaving friends and stuff, but it'll be alright."

Dominican Republic boxers were determined to let their hosts know they were grateful for the support they received.

Gold medalist Felix Diaz summed up their mood.

"I'm very very happy about everything that happened in Beijing, but I must go back to Dominican Republic. I've been traveling for four months. I'm very happy with the Chinese people."

Top Asian sportsmen like Hong Kong cyclist Wong Kam-po are already turning their thoughts to the next summer Olympics in London.

"I think for athletes, we now have to look back at what we've learned and quickly prepare for the 2012 Games."

Beijing's newly extended international airport faces its sternest test yet as tens of thousands of passengers head for home. The airport is designed to cope with 60 million passengers a year.

But the sporting spectacle is far from over with the official handover to members of the Paralympics squads, due to stage their games from September 6 to September 17.

 
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