The Beijing 2008 Summer Olympics

China's Coming Out Party!

Fireworks over Birds Nest Stadium for Opening Ceremonies of Beijing 2008 Summer Games

The Beijing 2008 Olympic Games were a perfect occasion to showcase China's 5,000-year history as well as its high-tech achievements and innovative capacity. For many, this was the first fascinating glimpse at a country that had been closed to outsiders for years.

In 2008, Beijing geared up to receive over half a million overseas visitors and two and a half million domestic tourists during the Summer games scheduled from August 8th to the 24th.

Preparations were underway as soon as the announcement was made in 2001 and during these seven years, China set out to ready that awe-inspiring vision which would be presented to the entire world, all eyes would be on China for these two weeks.

And so, on the evening of 08/08/08, at precisely 08:08:08 p.m. 2008 drummers set the stage for the perfect countdown to an unforgettable and astounding performance that marked not only the opening of the Beijing Olympic Games but the arrival of China to the international stage.

The Beijing Olympics Opening Ceremony

The Beijing Olympics Opening Ceremony was a magnificent and dazzling event featuring thousands of performers and their magnificent costumes as fireworks exploded all around the Bird's Nest and illuminated the entire city.

Directed by reknowned filmaker Zhang Yimou, the coreography was like nothing ever seen before and commanded the highest price tag in Olympic history.

It took 22,000 people to put the entire production together, including 15,000 performers and their extravagant costumes. Over 40,000 fireworks were lit.

It showcased 5,000 years of Chinese history, heritage, art and contributions to humanity in the way of the well-known Chinese inventions like printing, gunpowder, the compass...

91,000 people attended the event at the Bird's Nest, and over 2 billion TV viewers watched at home. This grand spectacle was viewed by nearly one-third of the world's population!

After the longest Torch Relay ever in Olympic history as the Torch traveled 137,000 kilometers around the world, it finally arrived at the Bird's Nest, where Li Ning, China's first Olympic star and six-time gymnastics gold medalist, carried it and lit the Olympic flame in the huge cauldron overlooking Beijing as fireworks exploded all accross the skyline.

Beijing Olympics Games and Venues

Quick facts:

  • 11,028 athletes
  • 204 countries
  • 302 events
  • 28 sports
  • 37 venues

Over 37 venues hosted events during the Summer games, where a total of 11,028 athletes from 204 countries participated in 302 competitions.

Of the 37 venues, 31 are in Beijing and located at the Olympic Green.

The Olympic Green or the Olympic Park, located in Chaoyang District, is where the action was. The Bird's Nest and the Water Cube, the most prominent and memorable are located here, as well as a Convention Center and other fields for the different disciplines like hockey, tennis, etc. and the Olympic Village that hosted the athletes.

The Bird's Nest

Beijing Olympic Village the Bird's Nest

The Bird's Nest is the Beijing National Stadium and the centerpiece of the events. It was the home of both the Opening and Closing Ceremonies with capacity for 91,000 visitors. The number of spectators has since been reduced to 80,000. Athletics and Football finals also took place here.

The Water Cube

Beijing Olympic Village the Water Cube

The Water Cube is mostly remembered for... Michael Phelps... 8 Gold Medals... that butterfly kick! This all happened at the Beijing National Aquatics Center, the Water Cube, next to the Bird's Nest. The Water Cube was built for the swimming and diving competitions for the 2008 games where 25 world records were broken. Nowadays it has been redone into a Water Park.

Beijing Olympics Medal Count

Rank Country Gold Silver Bronze Total
1 USA 36 38 36 110
2 China 51 21 28 100
3 Russia 23 21 28 72
4 Britain 19 13 15 47
5 Australia 14 15 17 46
6 Germany 16 10 15 41

See complete list...

The Beijing Olympics Logo

2008 Beijing Olympics Logo - from the Official Website of the Beijing Olympic Games

The "Dancing Beijing" Emblem contains a red seal and Chinese character for jing or "national capital" and the open arms are China's invitation to the world to share in its culture...

The Slogan

2008 Beijing Olympics Slogan - from the Official Website of the Beijing Olympic Games

"One World One Dream" reflects the wishes from people all over the world, inspired by the Olympic spirit, to unite and build a better future for all despite differences in languages, races, or cultures, we all share the same dreams and ideals.

Beijing Olympic Mascots

2008 Beijing Olympics Mascots

The mascots of Beijing 2008 are the five Fuwa, each representing one color of the Olympic Rings. They carry a message of friendship and peace to children all over the world.

They are symbols of four of China's most popular animals plus the Olympic flame:

2008 Beijing Olympics Mascot BeiBei
BeiBei the Fish

2008 Beijing Olympics Mascot BeiBei
JingJing the Panda

2008 Beijing Olympics Mascot BeiBei
HuanHuan the Olympic Flame

2008 Beijing Olympics Mascot BeiBei
YingYing the Tibetan Antelope

2008 Beijing Olympics Mascot BeiBei
NiNi the Swallow

Together they say: "Bei Jing Huan Ying Ni" or "Welcome to Beijing"!

And now, 14 years later, the city gears up to do this again, this time on a lower scale and under challenging circumstances due to the Coronavirus Pandemic. But here we are, details are trickling in and this is what we know as Beijing is getting ready to host the 2022 Winter Olympic games!!!

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