2008 Summer Olympics

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The 2008 Summer Olympics, officially known as the Games of the XXIX Olympiad, were a major international multi-sport event that took place in Beijing, China, from August 8 to August 24, 2008.[a] A total of 11,028 athletes from 204 National Olympic Committees (NOCs) competed in 28 sports and 302 events (one event more than the schedule of the 2004 Games). China became the 22nd nation to host the Olympic Games and the 18th to hold a Summer Olympic Games. It was the third time that the Summer Olympic Games were held in Asia, after Tokyo, Japan in 1964 and Seoul, South Korea in 1988. These Games were the third time that Olympic events have been held in the territories of two different NOCs, as the equestrian events were held in Hong Kong.[b]

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 (IOC) after two rounds of voting.[2] The Government of the People's Republic of China 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", 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.[3]

There were 43 new world records and 132 new Olympic records set at the 2008 Summer Olympics. An unprecedented 86 countries won at least one medal during the Games. Chinese athletes won the most gold medals, with 51, and 100 medals altogether, while the United States had the most medals total with 110. Michael Phelps broke the records for most gold medals in one Olympics and for most career gold medals for an Olympian by winning eight swimming events. Usain Bolt secured the traditional title of "World's Fastest Man" by setting new world records in the 100 m and 200 m sprints.

The choice of China as a host country was a subject of criticism by some politicians and non-governmental organizations concerned about China's human rights record. China and others, meanwhile, warned against politicizing the Olympics. At the closing ceremony IOC president Jacques Rogge declared the event a "truly exceptional Games" after earlier asserting that the IOC had "absolutely no regrets" in choosing Beijing to host the 2008 Games.[4]

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