August 5, 2008 / 4:23 PM / 12 years ago

Extended bed greets leggy Gregorio in Beijing

Jadel Gregorio of Brazil competes in the the men's triple jump heats at the 11th IAAF World Athletics Championship in Osaka August 25, 2007. REUTERS/Brian Snyder

BEIJING (Reuters) - Brazilian triple jumper Jadel Gregorio, who towers over the average human being, expected to spend his first night in Beijing with half his legs hanging off the end of the bed.

Not so. His Chinese hosts, who are wowing foreign guests with their organizational feats, had already figured out Gregorio’s 2.03 meter (6 ft 8 in) frame would overhang the Olympic Village beds and had tacked on a special half-meter extension.

They had also raised his shower head — to as high as they could without lifting the ceiling. “These people think of every little thing,” Gregorio told Reuters as he finished a high-carb pasta lunch in the Olympic Village, his impossibly long legs somehow folded under the table.

“For the shower, it’s high, for sleeping, it’s big. Everything is better organized this year,” said Gregorio, who trains in the blustery northern British city of Newcastle.

Showing off the precision planning that has turned it from a musty Communist state into an economic superpower in a matter of years is all part of China’s aim of hosting the best Olympics ever while deflecting attention from its human rights record.

Even the notoriously pernickety foreign media has found it hard to do anything but praise the smooth organization so far.

The Beijing organizing committee has prepared specially built apartments for some 10,000 athletes in the Olympics Village down to the tiniest detail — the bedside tables even come with little yellow torches, one each for the 16,000 beds.

“It’s an emergency light in case the electricity goes out,” explained Jinzhi Hsu, in charge of the apartments. “There’s no reason it should, we just want everything to be perfect.”

(Reporting by Catherine Bremer; Editing by Nick Macfie)

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