05 February 2007
An Olympic volunteer poses beside the 2008 Beijing Olympics volunteer logo. More than 480,000 people applied to become volunteers for the 2008 summer Olympics. (China Daily)Beijing, China:
More than 320,000 people have volunteered to work at the 2008 Beijing Olympics.
The large number means many Olympic fans will be disappointed, since Beijing organizers will need only 70,000 volunteers for the Summer Games with 30,000 more for the Paralympics.
The state-run Xinhua news agency reported Monday the number of applicants from Beijing was about 256,000, of which 181,500 were college and university students. The rest of the volunteers were from outside the capital.
Xinhua said about 4,000 employees of foreign-run businesses in Beijing had also volunteered. They are expected to work in transportation and lodging.
"The employees working for foreign enterprises who can speak foreign languages to a high level will be a major source of Olympic volunteers," said Wang Yi'e, an official of the Beijing Volunteer Association.
Interest in the Olympics is widespread in China.
The search for volunteers in Beijing began in August. Last month it was extended to areas outside the capital.
The first batch of volunteers will be picked this summer, and they are expected to work at this year's test events.