NEW YORK.- The Empire State Building (ESB) announced it will celebrate the countries competing in this year's Olympics by lighting each of the four sides of its famed tower -- north, south, east and west -- the colors of participating countries' flags each night throughout the summer games. This marks the first time ESB has split the tower's sides with four separate country's lights in its history.
For the 17 nights of the games, the monumental lightings will honor the top 66 countries participating in the Olympics, based on the number of athletes attending from each country.
"The Empire State Building is honoring the athletes that have trained and worked their entire lives to make it to this international stage of competition where unity, athleticism and sportsmanship are revered," said James Connors, General Manager for the Empire State Building. "We are proud that the Empire State Building can be a part of this international celebration and hope that its tower lights are another source of pride for the athletes and their countries taking part in the summer games."
For 17 straight nights, the ESB electricians will be working around the clock to change the 182 floodlights that will make the world-famous ESB tower glow in each country's colors. A typical color change takes six electricians, six hours; the country lightings will require a team of electricians, each dedicated to one side of the building -- north, south, east or west -- to change the lights. Each team will manually fit the colored plastic gels over the floodlights to create the appropriate color combination for that day's four countries being honored.
In the spirit of unity and teamwork, the ESB is also working with each country's Consulate to spread the news, and giving citizens from each respected country a chance to experience the national pride that goes along with having their national colors lit up prominently on the Empire State Building and in the New York City skyline.
Empire State Building Country Lighting Schedule:
*Colors are listed from bottom to top.
August 8, 2008 (Friday)
North: Red, White, Blue - France
West: Red, Blue, White - Great Britain
South: Red, Red, Green - Portugal
East: Green, White, Orange - India
August 9, 2008 (Saturday)
North: Red, White, Blue - Czech Republic
West: Red, Blue, White - Russia
South: Red, White, Green - Italy
East: Green, White, Green - Nigeria
August 10, 2008 (Sunday)
North: Red, White, Blue - Chinese Taipei
West: Red, Red, White - Poland
South: Red, White, Green - Mexico
East: Green, White, Red - Hungary
August 11, 2008 (Monday)
North: Blue, White, Red - Croatia
West: White, Red, White - Japan
South: Green, Yellow, Green - South Africa
East: Black, White, Red - Egypt
August 12, 2008 (Tuesday)
North: Blue, White, Red - Netherlands
West: Blue, Red, White - New Zealand
South: Green, Yellow, Blue - Brazil
East: Red, Yellow, Blue - Romania
August 13, 2008 (Wednesday)
North: Blue, White, Red - Cuba
West: Blue, Red, White - Slovenia
South: Yellow, Yellow, Blue - Ukraine
East: Red, Yellow, Red - Spain
August 14, 2008 (Thursday)
North: Red, White, Red - Denmark
West: Blue, Red, White - Australia
South: Blue, Yellow, Blue - Kazakhstan
East: Yellow, Red, Black - Germany
August 15, 2008 (Friday)
North: Red, White, Red - Austria
West: Red, Green, White - Belarus
South: Blue, Yellow, Blue - Sweden
East: White, Blue, Red - South Korea
August 16, 2008 (Saturday)
North: Red, White, Red - Canada
West: Red, Green, White - Bulgaria
South: Blue, White, Blue - Greece
East: White, Blue, Red - Serbia
For a complete listing of all the country lightings, please visit
The final list will be posted on August 9, 2008.
Brief History of the Empire State Building Lighting
In 1932, a searchlight beacon alerting people for 50 miles that
Franklin D. Roosevelt had been elected president of the United States was
the first light to shine on top of the Empire State Building, and in 1976,
colored lighting was first introduced as the tower was lit in red, white
and blue to celebrate the American Bicentennial. The Empire State
Building's tower lights are internationally recognized and are illuminated
to commemorate holidays, events and causes that are of importance to New
Yorkers, Americans and citizens of the world. An ESB lighting celebrates
remarkable events, iconic traditions or significant anniversaries, such as
E.U. Day, Lunar New Year, Earth Day, Veteran's Day and many more.