FOND FAREWELL: An athlete raises the head of a Fuwa, the Olympic mascot,
during celebrations in the Bird's Nest at the Olympic closing ceremony
Beijing has successfully delivered an Olympic Games to the world. The 2008 summer Games were marked with distinct Chinese elements, while the rules specified in the Olympic Charter and the International Olympic Committee's (IOC) written agreement with the host city were strictly followed.
Seven years ago, when granting the hosting rights of the Games of the XXIX Olympiad to Beijing, the IOC was confident in the city, and believed that holding the Games in China would facilitate the dissemination of the Olympic spirit among its 1.3 billion people, leaving an unrivalled legacy in Olympic history.
Data about the 2008 Games suggest that the IOC made the right decision in choosing Beijing as the host.
According to the Beijing Organizing Committee for the Games of the XXIX Olympiad, 38 world records and 85 Olympic records were broken in the 2008 Games. More world records and Olympic records were broken in the Beijing Games than in the Athens or Sydney.
Numerous Olympic miracles and glorious moments were born in the 12 new Olympic venues, including the Water Cube and the Bird's Nest. In addition, 11 renovated venues and eight temporary venues in Beijing, as well as six sports arenas in the co-hosting cities, were also used for the Games.
A total of 11,468 athletes from 204 countries and regions competed in the Beijing Games. Beijing saw the largest number of female athletes competing in the history of the Games, to the relief of the IOC, which is committed to popularizing Olympic ideals and gender equality.
About 100,000 Olympic volunteers, 400,000 city volunteers, and 1 million social volunteers formed the largest volunteer team in Olympic history. Their smiles and dedication made the Olympics more beautiful.
The Beijing Olympics were one of the most watched Games in the history. More than 220 television agencies and over 25,000 journalists covered the event. The IOC site logged 5 million clicks during the entire process of the Beijing Games, whereas it logged 2.8 million clicks during the Athens Olympics.
More than 80 heads of states and governments participated in the opening ceremony of the Beijing Games. About 80 percent of the people in China and about half of the people in the United States and Europe watched the opening ceremony on television. This was a record number. Few other events have received so much attention.
Medals were awarded to 87 Olympic delegations, the largest number since the Olympics began. Afghanistan, Mauritius, Tajikistan and Togo won their first Olympic medals in history, and Bahrain, Mongolia and the Panama won their first Olympic gold, while India won its first gold in an individual event. Many delegations and athletes fulfilled their Olympic goals.
Team China had a remarkable performance. When the Games concluded on August 24, they had pocketed 51 golds, 21 silvers and 28 bronzes, making exactly 100 medals in total.
The Olympic Games have also popularized sports in China's schools, and helped to promote friendship and understanding between nations.
A total of 556 model schools of Olympic education have been selected from schools across China. More than 200 middle or primary schools have established friendly ties with the Olympic committees of other countries or regions. The Olympic spirits of solidarity, friendship, peace, and fair competition have been spread to innumerous students. The scale of Olympic education is unprecedented.
More than 400 youths, including 10 disabled youngsters, from 204 Olympic committees gathered at the Beijing Olympic Youth Camp in Beijing in August. The young campers experienced Chinese culture and customs, and watched the torch relay and Olympic competitions, actively promoting friendship and peace.
The author is the dean of the Sport Journalism and Communication Department, Beijing Sport University