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370m yuan feathers Bird's Nest

THE Bird's Nest stadium in Beijing has become a cash cow, pulling in 370 million yuan (US$54.2 million) after the 2008 Olympics, despite fears that the Games stadiums would become white elephants.

The bubble-clad national swimming center known as the Water Cube also earned 150 million yuan after the 2008 games, Beijing Daily reported today. Total money earned from the Olympic venues increased by 29.9 percent compared to the previous year.

The Bird's Nest was turned into a race track for the Race of Champions last November, drawing elite drivers from world rallying, Formula 1 and world touring cars. Stars including Michael Schumacher took part in the event.

And last December it was turned into a winter wonderland with mounds of artificial snow and mini ski slopes.

An unnamed Olympic Parks official told the newspaper that operation of the Bird's Nest cost 150 million yuan a year, but its business performance was strong.


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