A Diver’s Panoramic View of Beijing’s Water Cube


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Photograph of the National Aquatic Center, also known as the "Water Cube" in Beijing, China. The Beijing National Stadium (Bird's Nest) can be seen in the background. (Credit: angus_mac_123)

When China decided to organize the 2008 Summer Olympic Games, seven years ago, they were determined to show the whole world they could provide a show nobody had seen before. They bent themselves backwards to provide the “best of the best”—and they did.

The architectural styles of their venues are spectacular, like the Beijing National Stadium, colloquially known as the “Bird’s Nest” and the National Aquatic Center, also known as the “Water Cube”. These two venues are the most photographed Beijing’s Olympic structures.

Before I go ahead, I would like to clarify that the National Aquatic Center is a cuboid, not a cube as it has been erroneously nicknamed. A cuboid, or rectangular prism, is is a solid figure bounded by six rectangular faces: a rectangular box. All angles are right angles, and opposite faces of a cuboid are equal. On the other hand, a cube is a special case of the square prism in which all six faces are squares.

The National Aquatic Center will host the Swimming, Diving, and Synchronized Swimming events during the Olympics. Water Polo was originally planned to be hosted in the venue but was later moved to the Ying Tung Natatorium. The structure has a rated capacity of 17,000 spectators during the games. After the games are over, the capacity will be reduced to 6,000 people.

Many people believe the Water Cube is the fastest Olympic pool in the world. It’s one meter deeper than most Olympic pools. Coupled with the newly introduced faster Speedo LZR Racer swim suit, 23 world records were broken during the Beijing Olympics. U.S. swimmer, Michael Phelps, enjoyed this pool so much, he grabbed 8 gold Olympic medals surpassing Mark Spitz’s seven gold medals won at the 1972 Munich Olympic Summer Games. Phelps also used the Speedo LZR Racer swim suit and received one million dollars from Speedo to promote this high-tech swimming garment.

Do you want to view how big this pool is? Thomas Finchum, an American Diver competing in Beijing, describes the view from the 10-meter platform of the Water Cube. The New York Times has a great interactive panorama that shows the truly terrifying height of the 10-meter platform. By clicking and dragging your mouse over the image, you can move your view in any direction. The panorama comprises a series of photographs taken over a short period of time. If you have a large monitor be sure to click the full screen option. Enjoy the spectacular panoramic view of the Water Cube!

Related Pictures: Water Cube Photo Gallery by angus_mac_123

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