BEIJING, CHINA--After two weeks of remarkable success against the world's finest
athletes, the Chinese National Olympic Team was carefully disassembled and put
back into storage yesterday, placed in a specially designed, high-tech cryogenic
freezing pod for preservation until the 2000 Olympics in Sydney, Australia.
"You have brought great honor to your nation," said Chinese Prime
Minister Deng Xiaoping during a ceremony before more than 800,000 in Beijing's
Tiananmen Square. "Now we must remove your sculpted limbs from your
muscular torsos and return you to your sarcophagi so that you may achieve even
greater glories for the People's Republic in the future."
Amid great cheers from the crowd, Deng then pulled a switch, lowering the
athletes into the $440 million, titanium-reinforced, liquid radon-cooled
absolute zero temperature athlete preservation chamber, where they will be
preserved in a perfect state of suspended animation until July 2000.
The elite 120-member Chinese team, which boasts many of the world's finest
gymnasts, swimmers and runners, has been kept in the state-of-the-art
computer-regulated Mao Zedong Memorial People's Revolutionary Sports Pod,
located 200 feet below the surface of Beijing, since the 1964 Olympics in Tokyo.
Despite the overall success of the Chinese team in Atlanta, not all of its
members were returned to the pod. Following each Olympics, only the top
performers return, with those failing to earn a gold medal killed, stripped for
needed parts and replaced by more promising young athletes.
"Only the finest athletes can be preserved," Chinese Olympic
Committee spokesperson Zhou Li Quing said. "Those who have brought shame to
both nation and family by losing must be paraded naked through the streets of
every city in China for people to spit on, then coated with honey and staked
down over an anthill. "
Zhou added he is considering a proposal to parade defeated athletes through
China's more remote rural provinces as well.
Chinese Olympic Team will be cooled to a temperature of absolute zero,
then lowered into the $440 million Mao Zedong Memorial People's
Revolutionary Sports Pod, where it will be stored until the year 2000.
Among those frozen yesterday was 1996 Olympic men's archery gold medalist
Liao Bu. "I will see you in the year 2000," Liao said, minutes before
being sealed into a pod with his award-winning arms. "But until then, I
wish to bring great honor to China as the coldest Olympic archer in the
Xiaolu Chang, a five-time Olympic gold medal-winning middle-distance runner,
has been in the pod since the 1968 Mexico City Games. "Must win
medal," said Xiaolu, 51, who has the perfectly preserved body of a
23-year-old. "Must win medal."
According to scientists, the Chinese athletic pod represents the finest
Olympic carbon-based life-form storage facility in the world.
"The only one that compares is the $430 million Mother Russia Olympic
Figure Skaters' Pod in Moscow," said M.I.T.'s Paul Blair. "Built for
the 1980 Lake Placid Winter Olympics, it has since been updated with a
plutonium-powered coolant turbine, high-speed fast and slow twitch muscle
defrosters and separate storage compartments for individual skaters and