As the 16-day sports extravaganza drew its curtains, Beijing captivated millions of world viewers again with a colorful closing ceremony. During the titanic seven years of preparation, the ancient capital city has been revitalized by the modern Olympic Games. Over the past weeks, Beijing has fully presented to the world the Olympic spirit of liberty, equality and endeavor, and the whole city is still immersed in the charms of sport. Long after the sacred flame was extinguished at the Bird's Nest National Stadium, its glow has remained.
In the stadium, sports excellence drew loud cheers from the spectators across races and nationalities. American swimmer Michael Phelps won eight titles, breaking the single-Games record for gold medals. Jamaica's Usain Bolt sprinted to 100 and 200 meters gold in record times and it was the first time that athletes from Mongolia, Togo, Afghanistan and Tajikistan won medals at an Olympics. These groundbreaking victories have not only fulfilled dreams of honor, but also created new Olympic history.
When the winners moved the audience by extraordinary performances, we were also inspired by those unremitting struggles against setbacks, which enriched the meaning of sports and raised the Olympic spirit to higher levels.
Beijing will never forget the thundering acclaims and generous cheers for injured Korean weightlifter Lee Bae Young, despite his failure in the third attempt. Beijing will always remember the friendship between Chinese and U.S. gymnasts. When the Chinese girls took the women's team trophy, American gymnast Shawn Johnson was first to congratulate them. Beijing will not lose sight of celebrating hugs in the pool between swimmers of different nations. When Japanese prodigy swimmer Kosuke Kitajima broke the men's 100 meters breaststroke world record, American Brendan Hansen, former world record holder of this competition, passed through several lanes to congratulate him. The charms of sport brought Georgian and Russian athletes to kiss each other on the podium, and inspired German Steiner Matthias to win the competition for his departed wife and Oksana Chusovitina for her sick son. The Beijing event is over, but the Olympic spirit brings eternal joy and love to the human race in pursuit of social progress and world peace.
The success of the Beijing Games is attributable to the efforts of athletes, to the efforts of volunteers, to the enthusiasm of the spectators and to the devotion of millions of Chinese. When our friends leave with satisfactory smiles on their faces, everything we did has paid off, and what they left will be remembered here.