|Beijing 2008 logo - courtesy of www.olympic.org|
These Games were in many ways the 'coming out' party for the People's Republic of China and indeed they put up a great spectacle. From modern venues to a well-choreographed opening ceremony, the Games were one of the biggest in recent times. There were other major milestones which included live broadcasts done via Internet as well as the emergence of social media platforms such as YouTube, Facebook and Twitter which would change the way sport was viewed and reported. The shadow of Chinese authorities censorship did not escape observers though this was largely undone during the span of the Games.
- China's hosting meant that they emerged top of the medals standings by a haul - 51 Gold compared to USA's 36 - in the process setting a new record for most medals won in any single Games without boycotts (USSR had won 80 Gold in 1980 & USA 83 in 1984 but both had major boycotts).
- The Bird's Nest & Water Cube ( Beijing National Stadium and Beijing National Aquatics Center respectively) were some of the more enduring venues of any Olympic Games.
- Concerns of pollution and insecurity had been expressed before the start of the Games but none of these came to fore during the Games exonerating the Beijing organisers.
- Li Ning's lighting of the torch was also one of the biggest highlights of the Games ( marketers also note it for the fact that he used his own shoe label instead of China's official sponsors, Nike).
- More than 100 Heads of States and Governments attended the Games during its whole duration. This is in addition to the 205 countries attending through their respective National Olympic Committees.
- Michael Phelps finally broke the record for most gold medals in a single Olympics taking 8 Gold and breaking 7 world records and 1 Olympic record in the process.
- Liu Xiang broke his home fans by dropping out of the 110m hurdles race which he had been favoured to win.
|Beijing 2008 mascots|
- After poor shows in the 1990s and early 2000s, Kenya finally reigned supreme taking 6 Gold 4 Silver and 4 Bronze ( 5 were won at the Games while the 6th was awarded to 1500m men 2nd-placed Asbel Kiprop after initial winner Bahrain's Rashid Ramzi was stripped for use of illegal substances)
- Women medallists equalled the men winning 3 Gold same as their male counterparts.
- Other medallists included ; Gold - 800m women Pamela Jelimo, Wilfred Bungei 800m men, Nancy Lagat 1500m women, Brimin Kipruto 3000m men's steeplechase and (the late)Samuel Wanjiru - men's marathon; Silver - Janeth Jepkosgei 800m women, Eunice Jepkorir 3000m women's steeplechase , Eliud Kipchoge 5000m men and Catherine Ndereba - women's marathon, while Bronze went to Alfred Kirwa 800m men, Richard Mateelong 3000m steeplechase, Edwin Cheruiyot 5000m men and Micah Yogo 10000m men.
- In swimming Jason Dunford, temporarily held the Olympic record for the 100m butterfly men's event winning his Heat (7) in 51.14 seconds ( it's now the African and Kenyan record). He did make the finals but was placed 7th. No mean achievement in itself!
- Kenya also sent a rower Matthew Lidaywa -who placed 30th in the finals of the Single Sculls- another first for the country in any Olympics!