570 Suffer Heatstroke in Bird’s Nest

August 9, 2008 11:03 am Last Updated: October 1, 2015 10:57 pm

The National Stadium, also known as the 'Bird's Nest'. (Axel Shmidt/AFP/Getty Images)
The National Stadium, also known as the 'Bird's Nest'. (Axel Shmidt/AFP/Getty Images)
The oppressive hot weather, glaring fireworks display, spinning lights and loud roar took its toll during the Olympic opening ceremony where 570 people suffered from heatstroke. More than 20 people needed intensive care.  

According to the Chinese medical team manager of the National Stadium, Peng Mingjiang, 570 patients were treated suffering mainly from heat stroke, fever and trauma due to the hot and humid conditions.  Among those treated were audience members, performers, volunteers and staff. Other than the 20 people that required intensive care, the remainder of those treated were not serious.

The so-called “audio and visual feast” as described by Chinese authorities, ran for four hours, through to the early hours of the morning. In order to cool things down, working staff distributed fans to everyone in the audience.

Due to security concerns, audience members were not allowed to bring their own drinks, food or bags into the stadium—so most audience members came empty handed. In addition, they were not allowed to leave their seats before the conclusion of the performance. It was reported that some frail, older viewers, volunteers and artists found the heat unbearable. For those watching the opening ceremony on TV it was not difficult to notice the entire crowd fanning themselves in the Bird’s Nest.

Peng Mingjiang pointed out that the Bird’s Nest could accommodate over 90,000 spectators, with 6 layers of viewers platforms. Over 400 medical staff were mobilised from various hospitals from Beijing City. One doctor, one nurse and one volunteer worker were assigned for each viewer platform.

Television viewers from within Mainland China expressed their views: "Seeing everyone fanning themselves all through the whole show…the design flaws of the Bird’s Nest are very obvious during the opening ceremony. Many of the government officials and VIPs from various countries have to forget their dignities in their suit. Many are sweating hard and keep fanning themselves – the mood is very frustrating. Why wasn’t this ventilation and heat factor put into consideration during the design?”

“It’s a pity those cheer leaders in white having to dance and clapping their hands for almost two hours. The passionate vitality from the start died out toward the end.”

“Viewing from the television, those foreign athletes were perspiring as though they have just come out from a bath…such intense heat…no wonder people get heat stroke.”

“This is obviously a design flaw. Every time the audience fanned themselves, I feel shameful for the designer of the stadium. Can’t he take ventilation into consideration of his design? Not surprising why people called the stadium a Bird’s Nest, he must have forgotten to take man into consideration.”

Original article in Chinese:http://www.epochtimes.com/gb/8/8/9/n2222296.htm