2008 Summer Olympics

2008 Summer Olympics

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The 2008 Summer Olympics, officially known as the Games of the XXIX Olympiad, was a major international
International
----International mostly means something that involves more than one country. The term international as a word means involvement of, interaction between or encompassing more than one nation, or generally beyond national boundaries...

 multi-sport event
Multi-sport event
A multi-sport event is an organized sporting event, often held over multiple days, featuring competition in many different sports between organized teams of athletes from nation-states. The first major, modern, multi-sport event of international significance was the modern Olympic Games.Many...

 that took place in Beijing
Beijing
Beijing , also known as Peking , is the capital of the People's Republic of China and one of the most populous cities in the world, with a population of 19,612,368 as of 2010. The city is the country's political, cultural, and educational center, and home to the headquarters for most of China's...

, China
China
Chinese civilization may refer to:* China for more general discussion of the country.* Chinese culture* Greater China, the transnational community of ethnic Chinese.* History of China* Sinosphere, the area historically affected by Chinese culture...

, from August 8 to August 24, 2008. A total of 11,028 athletes from 204 National Olympic Committee
National Olympic Committee
National Olympic Committees are the national constituents of the worldwide Olympic movement. Subject to the controls of the International Olympic Committee, they are responsible for organizing their people's participation in the Olympic Games...

s (NOCs) competed in 28 sports and 302 events (a total of one event more than the schedule of the 2004 Games
2004 Summer Olympics
The 2004 Summer Olympic Games, officially known as the Games of the XXVIII Olympiad, was a premier international multi-sport event held in Athens, Greece from August 13 to August 29, 2004 with the motto Welcome Home. 10,625 athletes competed, some 600 more than expected, accompanied by 5,501 team...

). China became the 22nd nation to host the Olympic Games
Olympic Games
The Olympic Games is a major international event featuring summer and winter sports, in which thousands of athletes participate in a variety of competitions. The Olympic Games have come to be regarded as the world’s foremost sports competition where more than 200 nations participate...

 and the 18th to hold a Summer Olympic Games
Summer Olympic Games
The Summer Olympic Games or the Games of the Olympiad are an international multi-sport event, occurring every four years, organized by the International Olympic Committee. Medals are awarded in each event, with gold medals for first place, silver for second and bronze for third, a tradition that...

. It was the third time that the Summer Olympic Games were held in Asia, after Tokyo, Japan in 1964
1964 Summer Olympics
The 1964 Summer Olympics, officially known as the Games of the XVIII Olympiad, was an international multi-sport event held in Tokyo, Japan in 1964. Tokyo had been awarded with the organization of the 1940 Summer Olympics, but this honor was subsequently passed to Helsinki because of Japan's...

 and Seoul, South Korea in 1988
1988 Summer Olympics
The 1988 Summer Olympics, officially known as the Games of the XXIV Olympiad, were an all international multi-sport events celebrated from September 17 to October 2, 1988 in Seoul, South Korea. They were the second summer Olympic Games to be held in Asia and the first since the 1964 Summer Olympics...

. The equestrian events were held in Hong Kong
Hong Kong
Hong Kong is one of two Special Administrative Regions of the People's Republic of China , the other being Macau. A city-state situated on China's south coast and enclosed by the Pearl River Delta and South China Sea, it is renowned for its expansive skyline and deep natural harbour...

.

Beijing was awarded the Games over four competitors on July 13, 2001, having won an absolute majority of votes from members of the International Olympic Committee
International Olympic Committee
The International Olympic Committee is an international corporation based in Lausanne, Switzerland, created by Pierre de Coubertin on 23 June 1894 with Demetrios Vikelas as its first president...

 (IOC) after two rounds of voting. The Government of the People's Republic of China
Government of the People's Republic of China
All power within the government of the People's Republic of China is divided among three bodies: the People's Republic of China, State Council, and the People's Liberation Army . This article is concerned with the formal structure of the state, its departments and their responsibilities...

 promoted the Games and invested heavily in new facilities and transportation systems. A total of 37 venues were used to host the events including 12 constructed for use at the Games. The official logo of these Olympic Games, titled "Dancing Beijing
Dancing Beijing
Dancing Beijing is the name of the official emblem of the 2008 Summer Olympics, which took place in Beijing in the People's Republic of China. It was unveiled in August 2003 in a ceremony attended by 2,008 people at Beijing's Temple of Heaven.-Description:...

", featured a stylised calligraphic character jīng (京, meaning capital), referring to the host city. Media outlets reported unprecedented audience interest in the Games, and these Olympics had the largest television audience in Olympic history. Some politicians and non-governmental organization
Non-governmental organization
A non-governmental organization is a legally constituted organization created by natural or legal persons that operates independently from any government. The term originated from the United Nations , and is normally used to refer to organizations that do not form part of the government and are...

s criticized the choice of China as Olympic host because of the country's human rights
Human rights in the People's Republic of China
Human rights in the People's Republic of China are a matter of dispute between the Chinese government, other countries, international NGOs, and dissidents inside the country. Organizations such as the U.S. State Department, Amnesty International, and Human Rights Watch have accused the Chinese...

 record.

There were 43 new world record
World record
A world record is usually the best global performance ever recorded and verified in a specific skill or sport. The book Guinness World Records collates and publishes notable records of all types, from first and best to worst human achievements, to extremes in the natural world and beyond...

s and 132 new Olympic record
Olympic record
Olympic records are the best performances in a specific event in that event's history in either the Summer Olympic Games or the Winter Olympic Games...

s set at the 2008 Summer Olympics. An unprecedented 86 countries won at least one medal during the Games. Chinese athletes
China at the 2008 Summer Olympics
China was the host nation of the 2008 Summer Olympics.China was represented by the Chinese Olympic Committee , and the team of selected athletes were officially known as Team China....

 won the most gold medals, with 51, and 100 medals altogether, while the United States had the most medals total with 110. Michael Phelps
Michael Phelps
Michael Fred Phelps is an American swimmer who has, overall, won 16 Olympic medals—six gold and two bronze at Athens in 2004, and eight gold at Beijing in 2008, becoming the most successful athlete at both of these Olympic Games editions...

 broke the records for most gold medals in one Olympics and for most career gold medals for an Olympian by winning eight swimming
Swimming (sport)
Swimming is a sport governed by the Fédération Internationale de Natation .-History: Competitive swimming in Europe began around 1800 BCE, mostly in the form of the freestyle. In 1873 Steve Bowyer introduced the trudgen to Western swimming competitions, after copying the front crawl used by Native...

 events. Usain Bolt
Usain Bolt
The Honourable Usain St. Leo Bolt, OJ, C.D. , is a Jamaican sprinter and a five-time World and three-time Olympic gold medalist. He is the world record and Olympic record holder in the 100 metres, the 200 metres and the 4×100 metres relay...

 secured the traditional title of "World's Fastest Man" by setting new world records in the 100 m and 200 m sprints.

Bid

2008 Summer Olympics bidding results
City NOC Round 1 Round 2
Beijing   China 44 56
Toronto   Canada 20 22
Paris   France 15 18
Istanbul   Turkey 17 9
Osaka   Japan 6

Beijing was elected as the host city on July 13, 2001, during the 112th IOC
International Olympic Committee
The International Olympic Committee is an international corporation based in Lausanne, Switzerland, created by Pierre de Coubertin on 23 June 1894 with Demetrios Vikelas as its first president...

 Session in Moscow, defeating Toronto
Toronto
Toronto is the provincial capital of Ontario and the largest city in Canada. It is located in Southern Ontario on the northwestern shore of Lake Ontario. A relatively modern city, Toronto's history dates back to the late-18th century, when its land was first purchased by the British monarchy from...

, Paris
Paris
Paris is the capital and largest city in France, situated on the river Seine, in northern France, at the heart of the Île-de-France region...

, Istanbul
Istanbul
Istanbul , historically known as Byzantium and Constantinople , is the largest city of Turkey. Istanbul metropolitan province had 13.26 million people living in it as of December, 2010, which is 18% of Turkey's population and the 3rd largest metropolitan area in Europe after London and...

, and Osaka
Osaka
is a city in the Kansai region of Japan's main island of Honshu, a designated city under the Local Autonomy Law, the capital city of Osaka Prefecture and also the biggest part of Keihanshin area, which is represented by three major cities of Japan, Kyoto, Osaka and Kobe...

. Prior to the session, five other cities (Bangkok
Bangkok
Bangkok is the capital and largest urban area city in Thailand. It is known in Thai as Krung Thep Maha Nakhon or simply Krung Thep , meaning "city of angels." The full name of Bangkok is Krung Thep Mahanakhon Amon Rattanakosin Mahintharayutthaya Mahadilok Phop Noppharat Ratchathani Burirom...

, Cairo
Cairo
Cairo , is the capital of Egypt and the largest city in the Arab world and Africa, and the 16th largest metropolitan area in the world. Nicknamed "The City of a Thousand Minarets" for its preponderance of Islamic architecture, Cairo has long been a centre of the region's political and cultural life...

, Havana
Havana
Havana is the capital city, province, major port, and leading commercial centre of Cuba. The city proper has a population of 2.1 million inhabitants, and it spans a total of — making it the largest city in the Caribbean region, and the most populous...

, Kuala Lumpur
Kuala Lumpur
Kuala Lumpur is the capital and the second largest city in Malaysia by population. The city proper, making up an area of , has a population of 1.4 million as of 2010. Greater Kuala Lumpur, also known as the Klang Valley, is an urban agglomeration of 7.2 million...

, and Seville
Seville
Seville is the artistic, historic, cultural, and financial capital of southern Spain. It is the capital of the autonomous community of Andalusia and of the province of Seville. It is situated on the plain of the River Guadalquivir, with an average elevation of above sea level...

) submitted bids to the IOC but failed to make the short list chosen by the IOC Executive Committee in 2000. After the first round of voting, Beijing held a significant lead over the other four candidates. Osaka received only six votes and was eliminated. In the second round, Beijing was supported by an absolute majority of voters, eliminating the need for subsequent rounds.

Members of the IOC did not disclose their votes, but news reports speculated that broad international support led to China's selection, especially from developing nations who had received assistance from China in the construction of stadiums. The size of China, its increased enforcement of doping controls, and sympathy concerning its loss of the 2000 Summer Olympics
2000 Summer Olympics
The Sydney 2000 Summer Olympic Games or the Millennium Games/Games of the New Millennium, officially known as the Games of the XXVII Olympiad, were an international multi-sport event which was celebrated between 15 September and 1 October 2000 in Sydney, New South Wales, Australia...

 to Sydney were all factors in the decision. Eight years earlier, Beijing led every round of voting
2000 Summer Olympics bids
Five cities made presentations to the IOC Session in Monte Carlo to host the 2000 Summer Olympics. These were awarded to Sydney, Australia on September 23, 1993...

 for the 2000 Summer Olympics until they lost in the final round to Sydney by two votes.

Human rights concerns expressed by Amnesty International
Amnesty International
Amnesty International is an international non-governmental organisation whose stated mission is "to conduct research and generate action to prevent and end grave abuses of human rights, and to demand justice for those whose rights have been violated."Following a publication of Peter Benenson's...

 and politicians in both Europe and the United States were considered by the delegates, according to IOC Executive Director François Carrard. Carrard and others suggested that the selection might lead to improvements in human rights in China. In addition, a number of IOC delegates who had formerly been athletes expressed concern about heat and air quality during the Games. China outlined plans to address these environmental concerns in its bid application.

Costs


On March 6, 2009 the Beijing Organizing Committee for the Olympic Games reported that total spending on the games was "generally as much as that of the Athens 2004 Olympic Games", which was about $15 billion. They went on to claim that surplus revenues from the Games would exceed the original target of $16 million. Other sources, however, estimated that approximately $40 billion had been spent on the Games, which would make it the most expensive Olympic Games by a wide margin.

Venues


By May 2007, the construction of all 31 Beijing-based Olympic Games venues had begun. The Chinese government renovated and constructed six venues outside Beijing as well as 59 training centres. The largest structures built were the Beijing National Stadium
Beijing National Stadium
Beijing National Stadium, also known officially as the National Stadium, or colloquially as the Bird's Nest , is a stadium in Beijing, China. The stadium was designed for use throughout the 2008 Summer Olympics and Paralympics.-History:...

, Beijing National Indoor Stadium
Beijing National Indoor Stadium
The Beijing National Indoor Stadium, also known as the National Indoor Stadium , is an indoor arena that is located in the Olympic Green in Beijing, China. The stadium was constructed for the 2008 Summer Olympics...

, Beijing National Aquatics Center, Olympic Green Convention Center, Olympic Green
Olympic Green
The Olympic Green is an Olympic Park in Beijing, China constructed for the 2008 Summer Olympics. Since then, the streets around the park have been used for an exhibition street race of the FIA GT1 World Championship in 2011, after a race at Goldenport Park Circuit in the vicinity.- Beijing...

, and Beijing Wukesong Culture & Sports Center
Beijing Wukesong Culture & Sports Center
The MasterCard Center is an indoor arena for the 2008 Summer Olympics basketball preliminaries and finals. Ground was broken on March 29, 2005 and construction was completed on 11 January 2008. The stadium has a capacity of 18,000 and covers an area of 63,000 square metres...

. Almost 85% of the construction budget for the six main venues was funded by $2.1 billion (RMB¥
Renminbi
The Renminbi is the official currency of the People's Republic of China . Renminbi is legal tender in mainland China, but not in Hong Kong or Macau. It is issued by the People's Bank of China, the monetary authority of the PRC...

17.4 billion) in corporate bids and tenders. Investments were expected from corporations seeking ownership rights after the Olympics. Some events were held outside Beijing, namely football
Football at the Summer Olympics
Association football, usually known simply as football or soccer, has been included in every Olympiad except 1896 and 1932 as a men's competition sport. Women's football was added to the official programme in 1996.-Early history:...

 in Qinhuangdao
Qinhuangdao
Qinhuangdao is a port city in northeastern Hebei province of North China. It is about 300 km east of Beijing, on the Bohai Sea, the innermost gulf of the Yellow Sea....

, Shanghai, Shenyang
Shenyang
Shenyang , or Mukden , is the capital and largest city of Liaoning Province in Northeast China. Currently holding sub-provincial administrative status, the city was once known as Shengjing or Fengtianfu...

, and Tianjin
Tianjin
' is a metropolis in northern China and one of the five national central cities of the People's Republic of China. It is governed as a direct-controlled municipality, one of four such designations, and is, thus, under direct administration of the central government...

; sailing
Sailing at the 2008 Summer Olympics
Sailing at the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing was held from August 9 to 21. The competition took place in Qingdao, at Qingdao International Marina....

 in Qingdao
Qingdao
' also known in the West by its postal map spelling Tsingtao, is a major city with a population of over 8.715 million in eastern Shandong province, Eastern China. Its built up area, made of 7 urban districts plus Jimo city, is home to about 4,346,000 inhabitants in 2010.It borders Yantai to the...

; and, because of the "uncertainties of equine diseases and major difficulties in establishing a disease-free zone", the equestrian
Equestrian at the Summer Olympics
Equestrianism made its Summer Olympics debut at the 1900 Summer Olympics in Paris, France. It disappeared until 1912, but has appeared at every Summer Olympic Games since. The current Olympic equestrian disciplines are Dressage, Eventing, and Jumping...

 events were held in Hong Kong.

The centrepiece of the 2008 Summer Olympics was the Beijing National Stadium, nicknamed "The Bird's Nest" because of its nest-like skeletal structure. The stadium hosted both the opening
2008 Summer Olympics opening ceremony
The 2008 Summer Olympics opening ceremony was held at the Beijing National Stadium, also known as the Bird's Nest. It began at 8:00 pm China Standard Time on August 8, 2008, as 8 is considered to be a lucky number. The number 8 is associated with prosperity and confidence in Chinese culture...

 and closing
2008 Summer Olympics closing ceremony
The 2008 Summer Olympics closing ceremony was held at the Beijing National Stadium, also known as the Bird's Nest. It was directed by Chinese filmmaker Zhang Yimou and began at 8:00 pm China Standard Time on August 24, 2008...

 ceremonies as well as the athletics
Athletics at the 2008 Summer Olympics
Athletics at the 2008 Summer Olympics were held during the last 10 days of the games, from August 15 to August 24, 2008, at the Beijing National Stadium. The Olympic sport of athletics is split into four distinct sets of events: track and field events, road running events, and racewalking...

 competition. Construction of the venue began on December 24, 2003. The Guangdong Olympic Stadium
Guangdong Olympic Stadium
The Guangdong Olympic Stadium, also known as the Aoti Main Stadium, is a multi-purpose stadium in Guangzhou, People's Republic of China. Currently used mostly for football matches, the stadium was built in 2001...

 was originally planned, constructed, and completed in 2001 to help host the Games, but a decision was made to construct a new stadium in Beijing. In 2001, the city held a bidding process to select the best arena design. Several criteria were required of each design, including flexibility for post-Olympics use, a retractable roof
Retractable roof
A retractable roof is a kinetic architectural element used in many sports venues, in which a roof made of a suitable material can readily be mechanically deployed from some retracted or open position into a closed or extended position that completely covers the field of play and spectator areas...

, and low maintenance costs. The entry list was narrowed to thirteen final designs. The bird's nest model submitted by architects Jacques Herzog and Pierre de Meuron in collaboration with Li Xinggang of China Architecture Design and Research Group (CADG) was selected as the top design by both a professional panel and by a broader audience during a public exhibition. The selection of the design became official in April 2003. Construction of the stadium was a joint venture among the original designers, project architect Stefan Marbach, artist Ai Weiwei
Ai Weiwei
Ai Weiwei is a Chinese contemporary artist, active in sculpture, installation, architecture, curating, photography, film, and social, political and cultural criticism. Ai collaborated with Swiss architects Herzog & de Meuron as the artistic consultant on the Beijing National Stadium for the 2008...

, and a group of CADG architects led by Li Xinggang. Its $423 million cost was funded by the state-owned corporate conglomerate CITIC
CITIC
Not to be confused with Citigroup, another large financial services company.Not to be confused with CIT Group, another large financial services company....

 and the Beijing State-Owned Assets Management Company.

Transport


To prepare for Olympic visitors, Beijing's transportation infrastructure was expanded. Beijing's airport
Beijing Capital International Airport
Beijing Capital International Airport, is the main international airport serving Beijing, China. It is located northeast of Beijing's city center in an enclave of Chaoyang District that is surrounded by rural Shunyi District. The airport is owned and operated by the Beijing Capital...

 underwent a major renovation with the addition of the new Terminal 3, the world's 2nd largest airport terminal, designed by architect Norman Foster
Norman Foster, Baron Foster of Thames Bank
Norman Robert Foster, Baron Foster of Thames Bank, OM is a British architect whose company maintains an international design practice, Foster + Partners....

.

Within the city itself, Beijing's subway
Beijing Subway
The Beijing Subway is a rapid transit rail network that serves the urban and suburban districts of Beijing municipality. It is owned by the city of Beijing and has two operators, the wholly state owned Beijing Mass Transit Railway Operation Corp., which operates 12 lines, and the Beijing MTR...

 doubled its capacity and length, adding an additional 7 lines and 80 stations to the previously existing 4 lines and 64 stations. Included in this expansion was a new link connecting to the city's airport. A fleet of thousands of buses, minibuses and official cars transported spectators, athletes and officials between venues.

In an effort to improve air quality, the city placed restrictions on construction sites, gas stations and on the use of commercial and passenger vehicles in Beijing. From June 20 through September 20, passenger vehicle restrictions were placed on alternate days depending on the terminal digit of the car's license plate. It was anticipated that this measure would take 45% of Beijing's 3.3 million cars off the streets. The boosted public transport network was expected to absorb the demand created by these restrictions and the influx of visitors, which was estimated at more than 4 million extra passengers per day.

Marketing


The 2008 Summer Olympics emblem was known as Dancing Beijing
Dancing Beijing
Dancing Beijing is the name of the official emblem of the 2008 Summer Olympics, which took place in Beijing in the People's Republic of China. It was unveiled in August 2003 in a ceremony attended by 2,008 people at Beijing's Temple of Heaven.-Description:...

 . The emblem combined a traditional Chinese red seal and a representation of the calligraphic character
Chinese character
Chinese characters are logograms used in the writing of Chinese and Japanese , less frequently Korean , formerly Vietnamese , or other languages...

 jīng (京, "national capital", also the second character of Beijing's Chinese name) with athletic features. The open arms of the calligraphic word symbolised the invitation from China to the world to share in its culture. IOC president Jacques Rogge
Jacques Rogge
Jacques Rogge, Count Rogge , is a Belgian sports bureaucrat. He is the eighth and current President of the International Olympic Committee .-Life and career:...

 was very happy with the emblem, saying, "Your new emblem immediately conveys the awesome beauty and power of China which are embodied in your heritage and your people."

The slogan for the 2008 Olympics was "One World, One Dream" (.) The slogan called upon the whole world to join in the Olympic spirit and build a better future for humanity. It was chosen from over 210,000 entries submitted from around the world. The mascots of Beijing 2008 were the five Fuwa, each representing both a colour of the Olympic rings and a symbol of Chinese culture. In 2006, the Beijing Organizing Committee
Beijing Organizing Committee
The The Beijing Organizing Committee for the Games of the XXIX Olympiad, or BOCOG, also known as the Beijing Organizing Committee, is an informal name for the Beijing Organizing Committee for the Games of the XXIX Olympiad. It was also the organizing committee for the Games of the XIII Paralympiad...

 released pictogram
Pictogram
A pictograph, also called pictogram or pictogramme is an ideogram that conveys its meaning through its pictorial resemblance to a physical object. Pictographs are often used in writing and graphic systems in which the characters are to considerable extent pictorial in appearance.Pictography is a...

s of 35 Olympic disciplines (for some multi-discipline sports, such as cycling, a single pictogram was released). This set of sport icons was named the beauty of seal characters, because of each pictogram's likeness to Chinese seal script
Seal script
Seal script is an ancient style of Chinese calligraphy. It evolved organically out of the Zhōu dynasty script , arising in the Warring State of Qin...

.

Media coverage


The 2008 Games were the first to be produced and broadcast entirely in high definition (HD)
High-definition television
High-definition television is video that has resolution substantially higher than that of traditional television systems . HDTV has one or two million pixels per frame, roughly five times that of SD...

 by the host broadcaster. In comparison, American broadcaster NBC broadcasted only half of the Turin Winter Games in HD. In their bid for the Olympic Games in 2001, Beijing stated to the Olympic Evaluation Commission "that there will be no restrictions on media reporting and movement of journalists up to and including the Olympic Games", although some media outlets claimed that organizers ultimately failed to live up to this commitment.

According to Nielsen Media Research, 4.7 billion viewers worldwide tuned in to some of the television coverage, one-fifth larger than the 3.9 billion who watched the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens. American broadcaster NBC produced only 2 hours of online streaming video for the 2006 Winter Games but produced approximately 2,200 hours of coverage for the 2008 Summer Games. For the first time "live online video rights in some markets for the Olympics have been separately negotiated, not part of the overall 'broadcast rights,'"; this new media of the digital economy
Digital economy
A digital economy is an economy based on electronic goods and services produced by an electronic business and traded through electronic commerce...

 was growing "nine times faster than the rest of the advertising market".

Globally, the 2008 Olympics was subject to extensive copyright restriction, which amounted to territorial restrictions whilst still being covered extensively online within various exclusive copyright autarkies
Autarky
Autarky is the quality of being self-sufficient. Usually the term is applied to political states or their economic policies. Autarky exists whenever an entity can survive or continue its activities without external assistance. Autarky is not necessarily economic. For example, a military autarky...

. Thus despite the international nature of the event and the global reach of the internet, the coverage world wide of assorted nation-states and television networks was not readily accessible. There was no global or supranational media coverage. The international European Broadcasting Union
European Broadcasting Union
The European Broadcasting Union is a confederation of 74 broadcasting organisations from 56 countries, and 49 associate broadcasters from a further 25...

 (EBU), for example, provided live coverage and highlights of all arenas only for certain territories on their website, Eurovisionsports.tv. Many national broadcasters likewise restrict online events to their domestic audiences. The General National Copyright Administration of China announced that "individual (sic) and websites will face fines as high as 100,000 yuan for uploading recordings of Olympic Games video to the internet," part of an extensive campaign to protect the pertinent intellectual property rights. The Olympic Committee also set up a separate YouTube
YouTube
YouTube is a video-sharing website, created by three former PayPal employees in February 2005, on which users can upload, view and share videos....

 channel at Beijing 2008.

Torch relay




The design of the Olympic Torch was based on traditional scrolls and used a traditional Chinese design known as the "Propitious Clouds" (祥云). The torch was designed to remain lit in 65 km/h (40 mph) winds, temperatures as low as minus 40°C and in rain of up to 50 mm (2 in) per hour.

The relay, with the theme "Journey of Harmony", lasted 130 days and carried the torch 137000 km (85,128.1 mi)—the longest distance of any Olympic torch relay since the tradition began at the 1936 Berlin Games. The torch relay was called a "public relations disaster" for China by USA Today
USA Today
USA Today is a national American daily newspaper published by the Gannett Company. It was founded by Al Neuharth. The newspaper vies with The Wall Street Journal for the position of having the widest circulation of any newspaper in the United States, something it previously held since 2003...

, with protests of China's human rights record, particularly focused on Tibet
2008 Tibetan unrest
The 2008 Tibetan unrest, also known from its Chinese name as the 3•14 Riots, was a series of riots, protests, and demonstrations that started in Tibetan regional capital of Lhasa and spread to other Tibetan areas and a number of monasteries including outside the Tibet Autonomous Region...

. The IOC subsequently barred future Olympics organizers from staging international torch relays.

The relay began March 24, 2008, in Olympia, Greece
Olympia, Greece
Olympia , a sanctuary of ancient Greece in Elis, is known for having been the site of the Olympic Games in classical times, comparable in importance to the Pythian Games held in Delphi. Both games were held every Olympiad , the Olympic Games dating back possibly further than 776 BC...

. From there, it traveled across Greece to Panathinaiko Stadium
Panathinaiko Stadium
The Panathinaiko or Panathenaic Stadium , also known as the Kallimarmaro , is an athletic stadium in Athens that hosted the first modern Olympic Games in 1896...

 in Athens
Athens
Athens , is the capital and largest city of Greece. Athens dominates the Attica region and is one of the world's oldest cities, as its recorded history spans around 3,400 years. Classical Athens was a powerful city-state...

, and then to Beijing, arriving on March 31. From Beijing, the torch followed a route passing through every continent except Antarctica. The torch visited cities on the Silk Road
Silk Road
The Silk Road or Silk Route refers to a historical network of interlinking trade routes across the Afro-Eurasian landmass that connected East, South, and Western Asia with the Mediterranean and European world, as well as parts of North and East Africa...

, symbolizing ancient links between China and the rest of the world. A total of 21,880 torchbearers were selected from around the world by various organizations and entities.

The international portion of the relay was problematic. The month-long world tour encountered wide-scale protests. After trouble in London where protesters made several attempts to put out the flame, the torch was extinguished in Paris the following day. The American leg in San Francisco on April 9 was altered without prior warning to avoid such scenes, although there were still demonstrations along the original route. The relay was further delayed and simplified after the 2008 Sichuan earthquake
2008 Sichuan earthquake
The 2008 Sichuan earthquake or the Great Sichuan Earthquake was a deadly earthquake that measured at 8.0 Msand 7.9 Mw occurred at 14:28:01 CST...

 hit western China.

The flame was carried to the top of Mount Everest
2008 Summer Olympics summit of Mt. Everest
The 2008 Summer Olympics summit of Mt. Everest was the special route of the torch relay as part of the 2008 Summer Olympics taking place in Mount Everest. Torchbearers reached Mt. Everest at 9.20 in the morning on May 8, in parallel with the Shenzhen route...

 on a 108 km (67.1 mi) long "highway" scaling the Tibetan side of the mountain especially built for the relay. The $19.7 million blacktop project spanned from Tingri County
Tingri County
Tingri County or Dhringgri County , is a county of the Xigazê Prefecture in the Tibet Autonomous Region.The county comprises the upper valley of the Bum-chu or Arun River, with the valleys of its tributaries plus the valleys of the Rongshar Tsangpo and the Lapchi Gang Tsanpo which flow south into...

 of Xigazê Prefecture
Xigazê Prefecture
Xigazê is a prefecture of Tibet Autonomous Region in China.The administrative center of the prefecture is the city of Shigatse ....

 to the Everest Base Camp
Everest Base Camp
There are two base camps on opposite sides of Mount Everest. South Base Camp is in Nepal at an altitude of , and North Base Camp is in Tibet at ). These camps are rudimentary campsites on Mount Everest that are used by mountain climbers during their ascent and descent...

. In 2008 March, China banned mountaineers from climbing its side of Mount Everest and later persuaded the Nepalese government to close their side as well, officially citing environmental concerns. It also reflected concerns by the Chinese government that Tibet
Tibet
Tibet is a plateau region in Asia, north-east of the Himalayas. It is the traditional homeland of the Tibetan people as well as some other ethnic groups such as Monpas, Qiang, and Lhobas, and is now also inhabited by considerable numbers of Han and Hui people...

 activists may try to disrupt its plans to carry the Olympic torch up the world's tallest peak.

The originally proposed route would have taken the torch through Taipei
Taipei
Taipei City is the capital of the Republic of China and the central city of the largest metropolitan area of Taiwan. Situated at the northern tip of the island, Taipei is located on the Tamsui River, and is about 25 km southwest of Keelung, its port on the Pacific Ocean...

 after leaving Vietnam and before heading for Hong Kong. The government of Taiwan (then led by the independence
Taiwan independence
Taiwan independence is a political movement whose goals are primarily to formally establish the Republic of Taiwan by renaming or replacing the Republic of China , form a Taiwanese national identity, reject unification and One country, two systems with the People's Republic of China and a Chinese...

-leaning Democratic Progressive Party
Democratic Progressive Party
The Democratic Progressive Party is a political party in Taiwan, and the dominant party in the Pan-Green Coalition. Founded in 1986, DPP is the first meaningful opposition party in Taiwan. It has traditionally been associated with strong advocacy of human rights and a distinct Taiwanese identity,...

), however, objected to this proposal, claiming that this route would make the portion of the relay in Taiwan appear to be part of the torch's domestic journey through China, rather than a leg on the international route. This dispute, as well as Chinese demands that the flag
Flag of the Republic of China
The Flag of the Republic of China is red with a navy blue canton bearing a white sun with 12 triangular rays. In Chinese, the flag is commonly described as Blue Sky, White Sun, and a Wholly Red Earth to reflect its attributes....

 and the national anthem
National Anthem of the Republic of China
"National Anthem of the Republic of China" is the current national anthem of the Republic of China .The Republic of China was recognized as the government of mainland China prior to 1949. Since then the Republic of China has controlled Taiwan and some other nearby islands...

 of the Republic of China
Republic of China
The Republic of China , commonly known as Taiwan , is a unitary sovereign state located in East Asia. Originally based in mainland China, the Republic of China currently governs the island of Taiwan , which forms over 99% of its current territory, as well as Penghu, Kinmen, Matsu and other minor...

 be banned along the route led the government of Taiwan to reject the proposal that it be part of the relay route, and the two sides of the Taiwan Strait subsequently blamed each other for injecting politics into the event.

Calendar


In the following calendar for the 2008 Olympic Games, each blue box represents an event competition, such as a qualification round, on that day. The yellow boxes represent days during which medal-awarding finals for a sport were held. Each bullet in these boxes is an event final, the number of bullets per box representing the number of finals that were contested on that day. On the left the calendar lists each sport with events held during the Games, and at the right how many gold medals were won in that sport. There is a key at the top of the calendar to aid the reader.

Games



Opening ceremony


The opening ceremony officially began at 8:00 pm on August 8, 2008 in the Beijing National Stadium
Beijing National Stadium
Beijing National Stadium, also known officially as the National Stadium, or colloquially as the Bird's Nest , is a stadium in Beijing, China. The stadium was designed for use throughout the 2008 Summer Olympics and Paralympics.-History:...

. The number 8 is associated with prosperity and confidence in Chinese culture, and here it was a triple eight for the date and one extra for time (close to 08:08:08 pm). The ceremony was co-directed by Chinese filmmaker Zhang Yimou
Zhang Yimou
Zhang Yimou is a Chinese film director, producer, writer and actor, and former cinematographer. He is counted amongst the Fifth Generation of Chinese filmmakers, having made his directorial debut in 1987 with Red Sorghum....

 and Chinese choreographer Zhang Jigang
Zhang Jigang
Zhang Jigang is an internationally acclaimed Chinese choreographer and a Lieutenant General in the People's Liberation Army. He was the former director of the Song and Dance Ensemble with the People's Liberation Army before promotion in 2006...

 and featured a cast of over 15,000 performers. The ceremony lasted over four hours and was reported to have cost over US$100 million to produce.

A rich assembly of ancient Chinese art and culture dominated the ceremony. It opened with the beating of Fou
Fou
The fou is an ancient Chinese percussion instrument consisting of a pottery or bronzeware crock, jar, pot, or similar vessel, which was struck with a stick. Its origin dates back to the Xia or Shang dynasties, where it was used in ritual music...

 drums for the countdown. Subsequently, a giant scroll
Scroll
A scroll is a roll of parchment, papyrus, or paper, which has been drawn or written upon.Scroll may also refer to:*Scroll , the decoratively curved end of the pegbox of string instruments such as violins...

 was unveiled and became the show's centerpiece. The official song of the 2008 Olympics, titled "You and Me", was performed by Britain's Sarah Brightman
Sarah Brightman
Sarah Brightman is an English classical crossover soprano, actress, songwriter and dancer. She is famous for possessing a vocal range of over 3 octaves and singing in the whistle register...

 and China's Liu Huan
Liu Huan
Liu Huan is a Chinese Mandopop singer and songwriter.-Biography:Liu graduated from Yaohua High School in Tianjin in 1981. Four years later, he graduated from the University of International Relations in Beijing, majoring in French...

, on a large spinning rendition of the globe. The last recipient in the Olympic Torch relay, former Chinese gymnast
Gymnastics
Gymnastics is a sport involving performance of exercises requiring physical strength, flexibility, agility, coordination, and balance. Internationally, all of the gymnastic sports are governed by the Fédération Internationale de Gymnastique with each country having its own national governing body...

 Li Ning
Li Ning
Li Ning is a well-known Chinese gymnast and entrepreneur. He was born in an ethnic Zhuang family.-Gymnastics career:...

 ignited the cauldron
Cauldron
A cauldron or caldron is a large metal pot for cooking and/or boiling over an open fire, with a large mouth and frequently with an arc-shaped hanger.- Etymology :...

, after being suspended into the air by wires and completing a lap of the National Stadium at Stadium roof height in the air.

The opening ceremony was lauded by spectators and various international presses as spectacular and spellbinding. Hein Verbruggen, chairman of the IOC Coordination Commission for the XXIX Olympiad, called the ceremony "a grand, unprecedented success."

Sports


The program for the Beijing Games was quite similar to that of the 2004 Summer Olympics held in Athens. There were 28 sports and 302 events at the 2008 Games. Nine new events were held, including two from the new cycling
Cycling at the Summer Olympics
Cycling has been contested at every Summer Olympic Games since the birth of the modern Olympic movement at the 1896 Summer Olympics.-Track cycling, Men:-Track cycling, Women:-Road bicycle racing, Men:-Road bicycle racing, Women:...

 discipline of BMX
Bicycle motocross
Bicycle motocross or BMX refers to the sport in which the main goal is extreme racing on bicycles in motocross style on tracks with inline start and expressive obstacles, and it is also the term that refers to the bicycle itself that is designed for dirt and motocross cycling.- History :BMX started...

. Women competed in the 3000 metre steeplechase
Steeplechase (athletics)
The steeplechase is an obstacle race in athletics, which derives its name from the steeplechase in horse racing.-Rules:The length of the race is usually 3000 m; junior events are 2000 m, as women's events formerly were. The circuit has four ordinary barriers and one water jump. Over 3000 m, each...

 for the first time. Open water swimming
Open water swimming
Open water swimming takes place in outdoor bodies of water such as open oceans, bays, lakes, rivers, canals, and reservoirs.The beginning of the modern age of open water swimming is sometimes taken to be May 3, 1810, when Lord Byron swam several miles to cross the Hellespont from Europe to Asia.In...

 events for men and women, over the distance of 10 kilometres (6.2 mi), were added to the swimming discipline. Team events (men and women) in table tennis
Table tennis
Table tennis, also known as ping-pong, is a sport in which two or four players hit a lightweight, hollow ball back and forth using table tennis rackets. The game takes place on a hard table divided by a net...

 replaced the doubles events. In fencing
Fencing
Fencing, which is also known as modern fencing to distinguish it from historical fencing, is a family of combat sports using bladed weapons.Fencing is one of four sports which have been featured at every one of the modern Olympic Games...

, women's team foil and women's team sabre replaced men's team foil and women's team épée. Two sports were open only to men, baseball
Baseball at the 2008 Summer Olympics
Baseball at the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing was held from August 13 to August 23. All games were played at Wukesong Baseball Field, a temporary venue constructed at the Beijing Wukesong Culture & Sports Center...

 and boxing
Boxing at the 2008 Summer Olympics
The boxing program of the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing, China was held at the Workers Indoor Arena.Medals were awarded in eleven events, with each event corresponding to a recognized weight division of male boxers...

, while one sport and one discipline were open only to women, softball
Softball at the 2008 Summer Olympics
Softball at the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing took place over a ten day period starting August 12 and culminating in the medal finals on August 21. All games were played at the Fengtai Softball Field...

 and synchronized swimming
Synchronized swimming at the 2008 Summer Olympics
Synchronized swimming competitions at the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing were held from August 18 to August 23, at the Beijing National Aquatics Center.-Medalists:- Schedule :All times are China Standard Time - Team :- Duet :...

. Equestrian
Equestrian at the Summer Olympics
Equestrianism made its Summer Olympics debut at the 1900 Summer Olympics in Paris, France. It disappeared until 1912, but has appeared at every Summer Olympic Games since. The current Olympic equestrian disciplines are Dressage, Eventing, and Jumping...

 and Mixed Badminton
Badminton at the Summer Olympics
Badminton had its debut at the 1992 Summer Olympics and has been contested in 5 Olympiads. 50 different nations have appeared in the Olympic badminton competitions, with 19 appearing all 5 times. It is governed by the Badminton World Federation.-History:...

 are the only sport in which men and women compete together.

The following were the 28 sports that were contested at the Games. The number of events contested in each sport is indicated in parentheses (in sports with more than one discipline, as identified by the IOC, these are also specified).
  • Aquatics (46)

    • Slalom (4)
    • Sprint (12)
    • BMX (2)
    • Road (4)
    • Track (10)
    • Mountain Bike (2)
    • Dressage (2)
    • Eventing (2)
    • Jumping (2)

    • Artistic (14)
    • Rhythmic (2)
    • Trampoline (2)

    • Beach Volleyball (2)
    • Volleyball (2)
    • Freestyle (11)
    • Greco-Roman (7)

In addition to the official Olympic sports, the Beijing Organising Committee was given special dispensation by the IOC to run a wushu
Wushu (sport)
The sport of wushu is both an exhibition and a full-contact sport derived from traditional Chinese martial arts. It was created in the People's Republic of China after 1949, in an attempt to nationalize the practice of traditional Chinese martial arts...

 competition in parallel to the Games. The Wushu Tournament Beijing 2008
Wushu Tournament Beijing 2008
Wushu Tournament Beijing 2008 was a wushu competition which was held from August 21 to 24, 2008 at the Olympic Sports Center Gymnasium in Beijing, China....

 saw 128 athletes from 43 countries participate, with medals awarded in 15 separate events; however, these were not to be added to the official medal tally since Wushu was not on the programme of the 2008 Olympic Games.

Closing ceremony


The 2008 Summer Olympics Closing Ceremony concluded the Beijing Games on August 24, 2008. It began at 8:00pm China Standard Time (UTC+8
UTC+8
UTC+08:00 is an identifier for a time offset from UTC of +08:00. In ISO 8601 the associated time would be written as .With an estimated population of 1.53 billion living within the time zone, roughly 22.5% of the world population, it is the most populous time zone in world, as well as a possible...

), and took place at the Beijing National Stadium
Beijing National Stadium
Beijing National Stadium, also known officially as the National Stadium, or colloquially as the Bird's Nest , is a stadium in Beijing, China. The stadium was designed for use throughout the 2008 Summer Olympics and Paralympics.-History:...

.

The Ceremony included the handover of the Games from Beijing to London. Guo Jinlong
Guo Jinlong
Guo Jinlong is a politician of the People's Republic of China and Mayor of Beijing.- Biography :He graduated from Nanjing University Department of Physics in 1969 and joined the Communist Party of China in 1979, and was sent to work in Sichuan....

, the Mayor of Beijing handed over the Olympic flag to the Mayor of London Boris Johnson
Boris Johnson
Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson is a British journalist and Conservative Party politician, who has been the elected Mayor of London since 2008...

, followed by a performance organized by the London Organising Committee of the Olympic Games and Paralympic Games (LOCOG). This presentation included performances by guitarist Jimmy Page
Jimmy Page
James Patrick "Jimmy" Page, OBE is an English multi-instrumentalist, songwriter, and record producer. He began his career as a studio session guitarist in London and was subsequently a member of The Yardbirds from 1966 to 1968, after which he founded the English rock band Led Zeppelin.Jimmy Page...

, and recording artist Leona Lewis
Leona Lewis
Leona Louise Lewis is a British singer and songwriter. Lewis first came to prominence in 2006 when she won the third series of the British television series The X Factor....

. Footballer David Beckham
David Beckham
David Robert Joseph Beckham, OBE is an English footballer who plays midfield for Los Angeles Galaxy in Major League Soccer, having previously played for Manchester United, Preston North End, Real Madrid, and A.C...

 was also featured during London's presentation.

Medal table



Athletes from 86 countries won medals, 54 of which won gold medals, both setting new records for Olympic Games. 118 participating countries did not win a medal. Athletes from China
China at the 2008 Summer Olympics
China was the host nation of the 2008 Summer Olympics.China was represented by the Chinese Olympic Committee , and the team of selected athletes were officially known as Team China....

 won 51 gold medals, the most of any nation at these Olympics, becoming the first nation other than the United States
United States at the Olympics
The United States of America has sent athletes to every celebration of the modern Olympic Games, except the 1980 Summer Olympics, which it boycotted.The United States Olympic Committee is the National Olympic Committee for the United States....

 and Russia (Soviet Union) to do so since the 1936 Summer Olympics
1936 Summer Olympics
The 1936 Summer Olympics, officially known as the Games of the XI Olympiad, was an international multi-sport event which was held in 1936 in Berlin, Germany. Berlin won the bid to host the Games over Barcelona, Spain on April 26, 1931, at the 29th IOC Session in Barcelona...

. Athletes from the United States
United States at the 2008 Summer Olympics
The United States competed at the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing, China. American athletes have competed in every Summer Olympic Games since the 1896 Summer Olympics except the 1980 Summer Olympics, which the U.S. boycotted. The United States entered the Games as the most successful nation in...

 won the most total medals, with 110. Afghanistan
Afghanistan at the 2008 Summer Olympics
Afghanistan sent a team to compete at the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing, China. The team consisted of three men and one woman. Initially, Mehboba Ahdyar prepared to run the 800 metres and 1500 metres, but left her training camp on June 4 to seek political asylum in Norway.The country was...

, Mauritius
Mauritius at the 2008 Summer Olympics
Mauritius competed in the 2008 Summer Olympics held in Beijing, People's Republic of China from August 8 to August 24, 2008. Bruno Julie won Mauritius's first ever medal in boxing.-Medalist:- Archery:...

, Sudan
Sudan at the 2008 Summer Olympics
Sudan sent a delegation to compete at the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing, China. As of July 31, 2008, at least eight Sudanese athletes have qualified to represent their country at the Beijing Games in athletics, and an unknown number in other sports....

, Tajikistan
Tajikistan at the 2008 Summer Olympics
Tajikistan competed at the 2008 Summer Olympics which was held in Beijing, People's Republic of China from August 8 to August 24, 2008. The country has sent thirteen competitors to the Games, who took part in five sports: boxing, judo, swimming, hammer throw and freestyle wrestling.On August 11,...

, and Togo
Togo at the 2008 Summer Olympics
Togo competed in the 2008 Summer Olympics held in Beijing, China from August 8 to August 24, 2008.At the Men's Slalom K-1 event, Benjamin Boukpeti won a bronze medal in Canoeing, the first ever Olympic medal for the country.-Medalists:- Athletics:...

 won their first Olympic medals. Athletes from Mongolia
Mongolia at the 2008 Summer Olympics
Mongolia competed in the 2008 Summer Olympics, held in Beijing, People's Republic of China from August 8 to August 24, 2008. 29 athletes competed in 7 events. The Beijing Olympics has been Mongolia's most successful games ever, winning two gold and two silver medals, exceeding the 1980 Moscow...

 (which previously held the record for most medals without a gold), and Panama
Panama at the 2008 Summer Olympics
Panama competed in the 2008 Summer Olympics which was held in Beijing, People's Republic of China from August 8 to August 24, 2008. Yesika Jimenez was the delegation's flagbearer at the Opening Ceremony.Panama's participation was initially uncertain...

 won their nation's first gold medals. An athlete from Serbia
Serbia at the 2008 Summer Olympics
Serbia competed at the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing, People's Republic of China. The country returned under the name Serbia after 96 years, previously competing under the names Yugoslavia , Independent Olympic Participants , Yugoslavia and Serbia and Montenegro .The flag on the opening ceremony...

 won its first medal under that name, having previously won medals as part of Yugoslavia
Yugoslavia at the Olympics
Teams from Yugoslavia first participated at the Olympic Games in 1920. Previously, several athletes from Croatia, Slovenia and Vojvodina had competed for Austria or Hungary when those countries were part of the Empire of Austria-Hungary...

 and Serbia and Montenegro
Serbia and Montenegro at the Olympics
The former state union of Serbia and Montenegro was represented at the Olympic Games on seven occasions between 1992 and 2006, when the union was dissolved and Montenegro and Serbia each declared full independence.-History:...

.

The top ten ranked NOCs
National Olympic Committee
National Olympic Committees are the national constituents of the worldwide Olympic movement. Subject to the controls of the International Olympic Committee, they are responsible for organizing their people's participation in the Olympic Games...

 at these Games are listed below. The host nation, China, is highlighted.
1 51 21 28 100
2 36 38 36 110
3 23 21 28 72
4 19 13 15 47
5 16 10 15 41
6 14 15 17 46
7 13 10 8 31
8 9 6 10 25
9 8 9 10 27
10 7 16 18 41


Participation



All but one of the 205 National Olympic Committee
National Olympic Committee
National Olympic Committees are the national constituents of the worldwide Olympic movement. Subject to the controls of the International Olympic Committee, they are responsible for organizing their people's participation in the Olympic Games...

s (NOCs) that existed as of 2008 participated in the 2008 Summer Olympics, the exception being Brunei
Brunei at the Olympics
Brunei, as Brunei Darussalam, first participated at the Olympic Games in 1988, with a single official but no athletes. The nation sent athletes to compete in the Summer Olympic Games in 1996, 2000 and 2004. On each occasion, it was represented by a single athlete...

. Three countries participated in the Olympic Games for their first time: the Marshall Islands
Marshall Islands
The Republic of the Marshall Islands , , is a Micronesian nation of atolls and islands in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, just west of the International Date Line and just north of the Equator. As of July 2011 the population was 67,182...

, Montenegro
Montenegro
Montenegro Montenegrin: Crna Gora Црна Гора , meaning "Black Mountain") is a country located in Southeastern Europe. It has a coast on the Adriatic Sea to the south-west and is bordered by Croatia to the west, Bosnia and Herzegovina to the northwest, Serbia to the northeast and Albania to the...

 and Tuvalu
Tuvalu
Tuvalu , formerly known as the Ellice Islands, is a Polynesian island nation located in the Pacific Ocean, midway between Hawaii and Australia. Its nearest neighbours are Kiribati, Nauru, Samoa and Fiji. It comprises four reef islands and five true atolls...

.
The Marshall Islands
Marshall Islands
The Republic of the Marshall Islands , , is a Micronesian nation of atolls and islands in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, just west of the International Date Line and just north of the Equator. As of July 2011 the population was 67,182...

 and Tuvalu
Tuvalu
Tuvalu , formerly known as the Ellice Islands, is a Polynesian island nation located in the Pacific Ocean, midway between Hawaii and Australia. Its nearest neighbours are Kiribati, Nauru, Samoa and Fiji. It comprises four reef islands and five true atolls...

 gained National Olympic Committee status in 2006 and 2007 respectively, and 2008 was the first games in which they were eligible to participate. The states of Serbia
Serbia
Serbia , officially the Republic of Serbia , is a landlocked country located at the crossroads of Central and Southeast Europe, covering the southern part of the Carpathian basin and the central part of the Balkans...

 and Montenegro
Montenegro
Montenegro Montenegrin: Crna Gora Црна Гора , meaning "Black Mountain") is a country located in Southeastern Europe. It has a coast on the Adriatic Sea to the south-west and is bordered by Croatia to the west, Bosnia and Herzegovina to the northwest, Serbia to the northeast and Albania to the...

, which participated at the 2004 Games jointly as Serbia and Montenegro
Serbia and Montenegro
Serbia and Montenegro was a country in southeastern Europe, formed from two former republics of the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia : Serbia and Montenegro. Following the breakup of Yugoslavia, it was established in 1992 as a federation called the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia...

, competed separately for the first time. The Montenegrin Olympic Committee was accepted as a new National Olympic Committee in 2007. Neighboring Kosovo
Kosovo
Kosovo is a region in southeastern Europe. Part of the Ottoman Empire for more than five centuries, later the Autonomous Province of Kosovo and Metohija within Serbia...

, however, did not participate. After the declaration of independence in Kosovo, the IOC specified requirements that Kosovo needs to meet before being recognised by the IOC; most notably, it has to be recognised as independent by the United Nations. China
China at the 2008 Summer Olympics
China was the host nation of the 2008 Summer Olympics.China was represented by the Chinese Olympic Committee , and the team of selected athletes were officially known as Team China....

 and the United States
United States at the 2008 Summer Olympics
The United States competed at the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing, China. American athletes have competed in every Summer Olympic Games since the 1896 Summer Olympics except the 1980 Summer Olympics, which the U.S. boycotted. The United States entered the Games as the most successful nation in...

 had the largest teams, with 639 for China and 596 for the United States.

More than 100 sovereigns, heads of state and heads of government as well as 170 Ministers of Sport attended the Beijing Olympic Games.

National participation changes


As in Olympics Games since 1984, athletes from the Republic of China
Republic of China
The Republic of China , commonly known as Taiwan , is a unitary sovereign state located in East Asia. Originally based in mainland China, the Republic of China currently governs the island of Taiwan , which forms over 99% of its current territory, as well as Penghu, Kinmen, Matsu and other minor...

 (Taiwan) competed at the 2008 Games as Chinese Taipei
Chinese Taipei
Chinese Taipei is the designated name used by the Republic of China , commonly known as Taiwan, to participate in some international organizations and almost all sporting events, such as the Olympics, Paralympics, Asian Games and Asian Para Games...

 (TPE) under the Chinese Taipei Olympic flag and using the National Banner Song
National Banner Song
The "National Flag Anthem" of the Republic of China is played during the raising and lowering of the Flag of the Republic of China...

 as their official anthem. The participation of Taiwan was briefly in doubt because of disagreements over the name of their team in the Chinese language and concerns about Taiwan marching in the Opening Ceremony next to the special administrative region of Hong Kong. A compromise on the naming was reached, and Taiwan was referred to during the games as "Chinese Taipei," rather than "China's Taipei," as the mainland China government had proposed. In addition, the Central African Republic
Central African Republic at the 2008 Summer Olympics
The Central African Republic sent three competitors to the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing, China.- Athletics:- Boxing:...

 was placed between Chinese Taipei and the Special Administrative Regions during the march of nations.

Starting in 2005, North Korea
North Korea
The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea , , is a country in East Asia, occupying the northern half of the Korean Peninsula. Its capital and largest city is Pyongyang. The Korean Demilitarized Zone serves as the buffer zone between North Korea and South Korea...

 and South Korea held meetings to discuss the possibility of sending a united team to the 2008 Olympics. The proposal failed, because of disagreements about how athletes would be chosen; North Korea was demanding a certain percentage representation for its athletes. A subsequent attempt to broker an agreement for the two nations to walk together during the March of Nations failed as well, despite their having done so during the 2000 and 2004 Games.

On July 24, 2008, the International Olympic Committee
International Olympic Committee
The International Olympic Committee is an international corporation based in Lausanne, Switzerland, created by Pierre de Coubertin on 23 June 1894 with Demetrios Vikelas as its first president...

 (IOC) banned Iraq
Iraq at the 2008 Summer Olympics
Iraq competed in the 2008 Summer Olympics, held in Beijing, China, from August 8 to August 24, 2008. As of late July, seven Iraqis—two rowers, a weightlifter, a sprinter, a discus thrower, a judoka and an archer—had qualified to compete in seven events in five sports at the Beijing Olympics, and...

 from competing in the 2008 Olympic Summer Games because of "political interference by the government in sports." On July 29, the IOC reversed its decision and allowed the nation to compete after a pledge by Iraq to ensure "the independence of its national Olympics panel" by instituting fair elections before the end of November. In the meantime, Iraq's Olympic Organisation was run by "an interim committee proposed by its national sports federations and approved by the IOC."

Brunei Darussalam
Brunei
Brunei , officially the State of Brunei Darussalam or the Nation of Brunei, the Abode of Peace , is a sovereign state located on the north coast of the island of Borneo, in Southeast Asia...

 was due to take part in the 2008 Summer Olympic Games. However, they were disqualified on August 8, having failed to register either of their two athletes. The IOC
International Olympic Committee
The International Olympic Committee is an international corporation based in Lausanne, Switzerland, created by Pierre de Coubertin on 23 June 1894 with Demetrios Vikelas as its first president...

 spokeswoman Emmanuelle Moreau said in a statement that "it is a great shame and very sad for the athletes who lose out because of the decision by their team not to register them. The IOC tried up until the last minute, midday Friday August 8, 2008, the day of the official opening, to have them register, but to no avail." Brunei's Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sports issued a press release stating that their decision not to participate was due to an injury to one of their athletes.

Georgia
Georgia (country)
Georgia is a sovereign state in the Caucasus region of Eurasia. Located at the crossroads of Western Asia and Eastern Europe, it is bounded to the west by the Black Sea, to the north by Russia, to the southwest by Turkey, to the south by Armenia, and to the southeast by Azerbaijan. The capital of...

 announced on August 9, 2008 that it was considering withdrawing from the Beijing Olympic Games because of the 2008 South Ossetia war
2008 South Ossetia war
The 2008 South Ossetia War or Russo-Georgian War was an armed conflict in August 2008 between Georgia on one side, and Russia and separatist governments of South Ossetia and Abkhazia on the other....

, but it went on to compete while the conflict was still ongoing.

Participation of athletes with disabilities


South African swimmer Natalie du Toit
Natalie du Toit
Natalie du Toit is a South African swimmer. She is best known for the gold medals she won at the 2004 Paralympic Games as well as the Commonwealth Games. She was one of two Paralympians to compete at the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing; the other being table tennis player Natalia Partyka...

, whose left leg was amputated following a motor scooter accident, qualified to compete at the Beijing Olympics. The five time gold medalist at the Athens Paralympics in 2004
2004 Summer Paralympics
The 2004 Summer Paralympics were held in Athens, Greece, from September 17 to September 28. The twelfth Paralympic Games, an estimated 4,000 athletes took part in the Athens programme, with ages ranging from 11 to 66. Paralympic events had already taken place during the 2004 Summer Olympics as...

, made history by becoming the first amputee to qualify for the Olympic Games since Olivér Halassy
Olivér Halassy
Olivér Halassy was a Hungarian water polo player and freestyle swimmer who competed in the 1928 Summer Olympics, in the 1932 Summer Olympics, and in the 1936 Summer Olympics....

 in 1936. She was able to compete in the Olympics rather than the Paralympics because she does not use a prosthetic leg while swimming. Polish athlete Natalia Partyka
Natalia Partyka
Natalia Partyka is a Polish table tennis player. Born without a right hand and forearm, she participates in competitions for able-bodied athletes as well as in competitions for athletes with disabilities....

, who was born without a right forearm, competed in Table Tennis in both the 2008 Olympic Games and 2008 Paralympic Games.

Concerns and controversies




A variety of concerns over the Games, or China's hosting of the Games, had been expressed by various entities, including allegations that China violated its pledge to allow open media access, various alleged human rights violations, its continuous support of repressive regimes (such as Zimbabwe, Myanmar, Sudan and North Korea), air pollution in both the city of Beijing and in neighbouring areas, proposed boycotts, warnings of the possibility that the Beijing Olympics could be targeted by terrorist groups, potentially violent disruption from pro-Tibetan protesters, and religious persecutions. Bar owners in central Beijing had been forced "not to serve black people
Black people
The term black people is used in systems of racial classification for humans of a dark skinned phenotype, relative to other racial groups.Different societies apply different criteria regarding who is classified as "black", and often social variables such as class, socio-economic status also plays a...

 or Mongolians".

There were also reports that several members of China's women's gymnastics team, including double gold medal winner He Kexin
He Kexin
He Kexin is a Chinese gymnast. At the 2008 Olympics in Beijing she won gold medals on the uneven bars and as a member of the Chinese Artistic Gymnastics team. In 2008, she won two World Cup titles on the uneven bars. On the bars she was one of the few gymnasts in the world to score over 17.00...

, were too young to compete under the Fédération Internationale de Gymnastique
Fédération Internationale de Gymnastique
The Fédération Internationale de Gymnastique or International Federation of Gymnastics is the governing body of competitive gymnastics. Its headquarters is in Lausanne, Switzerland. It was founded on July 23, 1881 in Liège, Belgium, making it the oldest international sport organisation...

's rules for Olympic eligibility, but all were exonerated after an official IOC investigation.

In the lead-up to the Olympics, the government allegedly issued guidelines to the local media for their reporting during the Games: most political issues not directly related to the games were to be downplayed; topics such as pro-Tibetan independence and East Turkestan movements were not to be reported on, as were food safety issues such as "cancer-causing mineral water." As the 2008 Chinese milk scandal
2008 Chinese milk scandal
The 2008 Chinese milk scandal was a food safety incident in the People's Republic of China, involving milk and infant formula, and other food materials and components, adulterated with melamine....

 broke in September 2008, there was widespread speculation that China's desire for a perfect Games may have been a factor contributing towards the delayed recall of contaminated infant formula
Infant formula
Infant formula is a manufactured food designed and marketed for feeding to babies and infants under 12 months of age, usually prepared for bottle-feeding or cup-feeding from powder or liquid . The U.S...

.

Legacy


The 2008 Olympic Games have been generally accepted by the world's media as a logistical
Logistics
Logistics is the management of the flow of goods between the point of origin and the point of destination in order to meet the requirements of customers or corporations. Logistics involves the integration of information, transportation, inventory, warehousing, material handling, and packaging, and...

 success. Many of the worst fears about the games failed to materialize: no terrorists struck Beijing; no athlete protested at the podium, and the air quality - due largely to favorable conditions - was not as bad as many had feared beforehand despite being the worst in Olympics history.

For the Chinese government, the Olympic events, as well as the medals won by Chinese athletes, were a great source of national pride. It was seen as a symbol of China's pride and place in the world, while protests against the relay that occurred overseas were presented in the state media as the attempt of foreigners to deny the Chinese people that place. The Olympics seem to have also bolstered some domestic support for the Chinese government, and support for the policies of the Communist Party of China
Communist Party of China
The Communist Party of China , also known as the Chinese Communist Party , is the founding and ruling political party of the People's Republic of China...

, giving rise to concerns that the state will possibly have more leverage to disperse dissent
Dissent
Dissent is a sentiment or philosophy of non-agreement or opposition to a prevailing idea or an entity...

, at least momentarily. It is also believed that the number of gold medals won at the Olympics helped the pro-Beijing party (DAB) win at Hong Kong legislative election, 2008
Hong Kong legislative election, 2008
The 2008 Hong Kong legislative election was held on 7 September 2008 for the 4th Legislative Council since the establishment of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region. There are 60 seats in the 4th Council, with 30 Members elected by geographical constituencies through direct elections, and...

, in which the DAB remained the largest party. In the days before the election, a number of Chinese gold medalists visited Hong Kong to rally support behind the DAB, although some analysts had expected larger gains as a result of this than actually occurred.

The long-term economic impact of the games on China and Beijing in particular is not yet clear. Some sectors of the economy may have benefited from the influx of tourists, and other sectors such as manufacturing lost revenue because of plant closings related to the government's efforts to improve air quality. It is generally expected by economists that there will be no lasting effects on Beijing's economy from the games.

See also


  • Olympic records at the 2008 Summer Olympics
    Olympic records at the 2008 Summer Olympics
    A number of new Olympic records were set in various events at the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing.-Archery: This equalled Lina Herasymenko's Olympic record.-Men's records:- Women's records:-Cycling:-Men's records:-Women's records:...

  • World records at the 2008 Summer Olympics
    World records at the 2008 Summer Olympics
    A number of new world records were set in various events at the 2008 Summer Olympics.-Athletics:*Men's 100m: Usain Bolt of Jamaica, 9.69, *Men's 200 m: Usain Bolt of Jamaica, 19.30...

  • Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Games
    Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Games
    Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Games, known in Japan as , is a sports video game developed by the Sega Sports R&D Department of Sega Japan. It was published by Nintendo for Japan and by Sega for North America, Europe and all other regions. The game is officially licensed by the International Olympic...


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