The 29th Summer Olympics kicked off in Beijing on August 8. A total of 10,500 athletes competed in 302 events in 28 sports. The Games saw 43 new world records and 132 new Olympic records set. A total of 87 countries won medals during the Games. Chinese athletes won 51 gold medals altogether. After the Olympics, the 2008 Summer Paralympics were also held in Beijing through September 6-17. Over 4,200 athletes from 148 countries and regions took part in the event, and Chinese athletes won 89 gold medals.
The 2008 Beijing Olympics have realized China's dream of a century. The concepts of "Green Olympics, Hi-tech Olympics and People's Olympics can be found in every detail of the design of Olympic venues and services.
(Beijing Review No. 52, 2008)
Record Breaking Olympics
By ZHANG ZHIPING
On the evening of August 8, the lighting of the Olympic cauldron in Beijing's National Stadium marked the formal opening of the 29th Summer Olympic Games. From that moment on, the quest to jump higher, run faster and be stronger began as athletes in 28 sports and 38 disciplines vie for 302 gold medals. Because of the addition of BMX bicycling to the Beijing Olympics' contest list, these Games have one more discipline and two more events (male and female BMX contests) and thus award more golds than previous Games.
Most competitions are held in Beijing, while sailing took place in east China's coastal city of Qingdao. Several football preliminary matches were held in Tianjin, Shanghai, Shenyang and Qinhuangdao. Equestrian events were centered in Hong Kong.
A total of 20,000 athletes, coaches and officials from 204 countries and regions are participating, making this the biggest event by participating International Olympic Committee members.
The Beijing Olympics also has more female athletes than other Games have ever seen. Of all the participants, 45 percent are female while in Athens, the split was less than 41 percent. Athletes participating in these Games total more than 10,000, among whom are previous gold medallists and world record holders. For example, famous U.S. swimmer Michael Phelps had already won six golds and broken five world records in Beijing by August 15. World and Olympic records are falling while a generation of young athletes are making names for themselves.
This is a sports carnival belonging to people all over the world, who by all accounts are as passionate about the Games as the Chinese. It is estimated that worldwide an audience of 4 billion will watch Olympic competition events and the total time of live TV broadcasting will top 5,400 hours, besting the broadcasting of the 2004 Athens Olympics by 2,000 hours. Another first is the sale of Internet and mobile phone network rights by the International Olympic Committee.
The Beijing Olympics has an enormous contingent of journalists and 150,000 volunteers. During these Games, almost 40,000 journalists from home and abroad will file reports in Beijing and other parts of China. Heads of state and government and royal family members from over 80 countries attended the opening ceremony and these Games have attracted 500,000 foreigners to Beijing.
At the Athens Games in 2004, China rewrote its own history by winning 32 golds, 17 silvers and 14 bronzes, ranking second on the gold tally. As the host country, China has sent the largest delegation of more than 600 athletes to the 29th Olympiad. While trying to do their best in the competitions, the Chinese athletes have also shown their never-say-die spirit.
It's worth mentioning that, in this Olympics, a total of 38 coaches from 16 countries are training Chinese athletes. At the same time, the American women's volleyball team, athletics team and women's gymnastics team, as well as table tennis, diving and shooting teams of other countries, all have Chinese coaches. This truly reflects that sports can transcend national boundaries and become a celebration of people around the world.
(Beijing Review No.34, 2008)