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Beijing unveils Olympic emblem

From CNN Correspondent Lisa Rose Weaver

A spectacular ceremony heralded the unveiling of the 2008 emblem.
A spectacular ceremony heralded the unveiling of the 2008 emblem.

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Officials hope the emblem of the 2008 Beijing Olympics will unite Chinese culture with modern Olympic appeal.
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BEIJING, China -- At a star-studded ceremony attended by 2,008 people, China has officially unveiled its emblem for the 2008 Beijing Olympic games.

Called "Dancing Beijing," the logo drawn to look like a running athlete, was launched at Beijing's landmark Temple of Heaven on Sunday.

It was unveiled to a routine choreographed by top Chinese director Zhang Yimou amid dreamy references to Chinese culture.

Although China won't host its first Olympics for another five years, the modern Olympic appeal of the winning design was chosen for its sense of history and simplicity.

The emblem is based on the Chinese character "Jing," which is part of the name of Beijing and also can be written on its own to refer to the Chinese capital.

The emblem also includes the Olympic rings and the words "Beijing 2008."

The winning design, which will be the core element of the city's Olympic image, captured one concept.

"If it's not simple, then it's never gonna communicate. And this is the beginning of a journey of communication, you know, literally telling the story of the Beijing Olympic bid to the world," logo design judge Brad Copeland told CNN.

"Image is everything when it comes to launching an Olympic games logo -- not least of all because the winning design will help bring in lots of money."

The logo will be part of a campaign that Olympic organizers hope will bring at least $200 million dollars in marketing revenue -- the largest single source of money after television rights, which are set to bring in $840 million.

Nine major global firms have signed sponsorship agreements so far, and Olympic officials say they see signs that business interest in the 2008 games will grow significantly.

But the festivities were more focused on image - - and international stars, like Jackie Chan, celebrating their Chinese identity.

"It's a great honor -- I will never forget. I'm so proud of myself right now! -- Ah, I'm one of them!"

With five years to go before the games, Beijing is anxious to show it's in the starting block, rushing toward 2008 and the international spotlight the Olympics will bring.

The communist government has promoted the games as a matter of national pride and evidence of China's modernization, heavily publicizing every step in the preparations.

Beijing will need 15 new stadiums for the 2008 summer games that start in August and will feature 28 sports and 300 events.

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