"You wanna know a secret?" an International Olympic Committee member from Las Vegas asked me in the lobby of the Shangri-La's Kerry Centre Hotel in Beijing. "The performers are wearing diapers during rehearsals so they don't have to take bathroom breaks."
It's funny that in a city where babies rarely wear diapers (wee-wee baring pants with slits seem to be more popular) that adults would suddenly strap on the Depends. But this practice doesn't appear to be particularly unique or even surprising. Hannie Yang, a 21-year-old Beijinger and intern for Time Out Beijing, says she and her fellow performers were given absorbent pads when they were rehearsing for China's 50th National Day. "They gave us the really long ones that you'd use at night," she said. "Ugh, how hot and suffocating! We just chucked them and used the toilet when we wanted to anyway."
Whether the opening ceremony performers are throwing down their nappies in defiance like Hannie did is anyone's guess*. However, if on 08/08/08 you catch sight of a little bulge on your television screen, it's probably not a banana.
*Note: Both the BOCOG communications and opening ceremonies operations departments could not be reached for comment--perhaps they were in the bathroom when I rang.