8-8-08 at 8:08 p.m.

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BEIJING -- It’s a cute story.

The Chinese chose Aug. 8, 2008, as the first day of the Summer Olympics and 8:08 p.m. as the starting time of the opening ceremony because the number 8 is considered lucky here. That’s because the word for eight is pronounced ba, which rhymes with fa, which is the word for fortune. That is according to the Olympic News Service here, not something I would normally know.

This day is considered so lucky that 16,400 Chinese couples applied for marriage licenses.

But, according to Wang Wei, the Beijing organizing committee’s general secretary, 8-8-08 was not the first choice for the opening day of the Olympics. The organizers asked for a September start because the weather is more pleasant. They were denied by the International Olympic Committee because of conflicts with the international sports schedule.

Translation: NBC told the IOC that it didn’t want the Olympics to interfere with its NFL schedule.


The word for what NBC makes off the NFL is fa.

-- Randy Harvey