Gymnastics legend Li Ning, sports stars and top management from OMEGA and Sotheby’s announce planned charity auction
A star-studded special event was held at the OMEGA Pavilion on the Olympic Green to announce OMEGA’s plans to offer its Beijing 2008, Unique N° 8 Collection in cooperation with leading auction house Sotheby’s. The proceeds of the sale will be donated to the Chinese Athletes Educational Foundation (CAEF).
Top management from OMEGA and Sotheby’s were joined by legendary Chinese gymnast Li Ning and some of China’s most celebrated athletes. Li Ning, who dramatically “flew” through Beijing’s National Stadium as the final torch bearer in this year’s relay, brought some prominent colleagues including former world gymnastics champion Li Chun Yang, badminton superstar Li Yong Bo, Olympic speed skating gold medalist and OMEGA ambassador Yang Yang, gymnast and Olympic gold medalist Liu Xuan, and Jin Jing, the Paralympic fencer.
Stephen Urquhart, the president of OMEGA, welcomed his guests and said that the company was particularly happy that the Unique N° 8 Collection would ultimately help so many children and young athletes in regions of China ravaged by the recent earthquake.
Kevin Rollenhagen, the President of OMEGA Greater China, described OMEGA’s long history with the Olympics and its even longer presence in to China. He said that while there could only be one collection of timepieces like the Pagoda, he was pleased that its benefits would be extended to deserving people in a part of the country which had been so badly devastated.
Kevin Ching, the CEO of Sotheby’s Asia, said Sotheby’s partnership with OMEGA was a natural one. Sotheby’s, he pointed out, is the oldest auction house in the world and OMEGA is among the world’s most venerated, prestigious watchmakers. He encouraged his audience to bid aggressively on the Pagoda in Hong Kong on October 7th in order to support the good work of the CAEF. Sotheby’s will take the Collection on tour to key Asian cities so that potential buyers will have the opportunity to view it in advance of the auction.
Li Yong Bo, the director of the CAEF, said that one of the goals of the organization was to offer the kind of training to athletes which would allow them to serve society after their active sports careers were completed but that the Foundation is also interested in promoting sports among youth throughout China.
Olympic gold medalist and sporting goods entrepreneur Li Ning, who is also the founder of the CAEF, said that the Foundation had sent teams into the areas which had been hard hit by earthquake damage and decided that they would create weather-proof playgrounds and sporting areas for students in the disaster area. Plans are being made to send some of the athletic stars to the region to offer encouragement and support to the young people there.
The other “star” of the event was then introduced: the OMEGA Beijing 2008, Unique N° 8 Collection itself, described as the Pagoda – a reference to its black walnut presentation cabinet which is reminiscent of traditional Chinese architecture. It consists of 35 OMEGA timepieces, including each of the 32 limited edition watches in the Beijing Olympic Collection and three “Olympic Split Seconds Chronograph 1932” pocket watches. Consistent with the theme of this year’s Olympics, each watch bears the auspicious limited edition number of 8.
The athletes were then invited onto the stage and photographs were taken around the Pagoda with the other guests after which Stephen Urquhart and Kevin Rollenhagen led them on a tour of the OMEGA Pavilion.
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