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Photography, sports and life as seen through the lens of Seattle Times photographer Rod Mar.

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August 6, 2008 6:29 AM

Olympics: Quick Peek into the Olympic Village

Posted by Rod Mar

The Olympic Village is what used to be called the "Athletes' Village," and it's home to many of the competitors in the upcoming Summer Games.

I say "many" because although nearly all athletes stay there, many are staying out of Beijing until they compete because of the smog.

We visited the Olympic Village for a short while today for an interview. I ambled around a bit (the area in the village that is open to media and guests is very small compared to the entire complex of housing for the thousands of athletes).

Wandering around, you can find athletes of all different shapes and sizes, most wearing something identifying their country. It's fun to try to figure out what sports each plays. He's tall and lean -- must be a pole vaulter? A rower? A team handball player? She's tiny -- gymnast? Middle distance runner? Coxswain?
The village is really an entire little city. It has its own post office, bank, hair salon, dining area, internet cafes and also a daily newspaper and a mjayor.

This flag plaza is near the concert shell where there are shows and concerts daily.

As we were leaving, this group turned heads all around with their colorful native dress. Turns out they're from Bhutan. I know this because they couldn't walk 10 meters without someone asking them.

It's cool to see athletes who are famous in their own countries get wide-eyed when in the presence of others. NBA star Carmelo Anthony told the New York Times he looked up swimmer Michael Phelps when he arrived at the village, and added that he and other NBA stars on the U.S. basketball team were swarmed by other athletes when they arrived.

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