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Moving at the movies

Expo visitors are being promised a moving experience.

Visitors to this summer's national exhibition are being promised an unusual cinematic trip into the world of sport - thanks to a 360 degree movie show choreographed by bicycles.

Constructed on the Yverdon site at a cost of SFr 6 million ($3.6 million), the “Circuit” installation will be among the more unusual sporting attractions at Expo 02 and is intended to increase public awareness of the excitement and benefits of sport.

Interviews with top sport stars such as André Bucher and Kubilay Türkyilmaz will be combined with sound and video effects in an attempt to convey the emotions and demands involved in top level competition. By pedalling on the bicycles scattered around the cinema, spectators will be able to influence the speed and nature of the images displayed.

“We didn’t want to concentrate on just organising sporting competitions,” Expo’s artistic director Martin Heller told swissinfo. “We wanted to show Swiss sport through the eyes of its top athletes and invite people both to take part and to be a part of the exhibit itself.”

Completely different

“We’re all familiar with television broadcasts of sporting events and we’ve all heard interviews of sports stars analysing their performances so for Expo 02 we really wanted to show something completely different,” adds project leader Bruno Tschanz.

“We wanted to get under the skin of the athletes,” Tschanz explains. “And when we asked them about their feelings going into a big event or during the competition itself, we got some really surprising and personal answers. That’s when we really decided to plunge into this project.”

As well as the Circuit installation, the national exhibition will be staging its own ExpoGames with a tournament involving 54 different sports associations and thousands of amateur sportsmen and women. Qualifying heats have already been underway for more than six months and will culminate in the semi-finals and finals to be held at Expo itself.

Gruelling gigathlon

For those who want to really test themselves there is also the Expo gigathlon – a staggering test of endurance comprising a 1,494-kilometre, seven-day race around Switzerland with sections made up of running, swimming, cycling and in-line skating.

“Twenty-five per cent of the Swiss population are totally inactive when it comes to sport,” Swiss Olympic director Marco Blatter points out. “And we hope to get those people active by demonstrating how valuable sport can be in terms of emotions, experiences and interaction with other people and other viewpoints.

“The gigathlon will certainly attract a bunch of top athletes looking to be among the best, but with more than 8,000 people registered there will be many more participants who are just looking for a unique experience.”

Arts workshop

An arts workshop at the federal sports school in Magglingen incorporating projects based on sport and movement completes a strong sporting line-up at Expo with a combined budget of more than SFr 19 million ($11.3 million).

Both the Circuit cinema project and the Magglingen workshop will be open throughout Expo 02, which runs from May 15 to October 20. The one-week gigathlon starts on July 7 with the semi-finals of the ExpoGames starting four days later.

by Mark Ledsom

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SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR

SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR