On this day 10 years ago, 2,008 beating drums signalled the start of the Olympic Games Beijing 2008 in front of thousands of Olympic fans and athletes in the Bird’s Nest National Stadium.
Beijing became synonymous with some of the most historic Olympic sporting performances, like Michael Phelps’ record eight gold medals, as well as the start of Usain Bolt’s Olympic reign in the 100m and 200m events.
To commemorate the milestone anniversary, a series of events including sports demonstrations, exhibitions and documentary films kicked off today across Beijing.
The festivities began early in the morning between the Bird’s Nest National Stadium, which will be used for the Opening and Closing Ceremonies in 2022, and the Water Cube National Aquatics Centre, which will serve as the curling venue in four years’ time. In the plaza between these two venues, Beijing 2022 launched its global design competition for the mascots of the Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games Beijing 2022.
Several more of the Beijing 2008 venues will transition for use at the Olympic Winter Games, demonstrating the lasting legacy of the 2008 Games. The National Indoor Stadium and Wukesong Sports Centre will be used for ice hockey; the Capital Indoor Stadium will host short track speed skating and figure skating; and the China National Convention Centre will again be used as the Main Press Centre and International Broadcast Centre in 2022.
Following the mascot design launch, more than 3,000 people gathered in the Olympic Park to practise table tennis, badminton, football, basketball and popular Chinese folk sports like jianzi.
Meanwhile, memorabilia from Beijing 2008 was on display at the “From 2008 to 2022, Olympic Spirit in Motion” exhibition at the Bird’s Nest National Stadium. In parallel, an exhibition developed by the IOC’s Olympic Museum is featured called “Stadiums, Past and Future”, which looks at stadiums through the prism of time. In this exhibition, visitors take part in the various stages of venue construction, learning how stadiums integrate into and enhance a city.
Organised by Beijing Olympic Development Association (BODA), the Bird’s Nest venue also features a special Beijing 2022 exhibition that will be open to the public until 22 September.
The Beijing International Sports Film Week will screen “The Everlasting Flame”, the official film of Beijing 2008, as well as the official films of Rio 2016, London 2012, Vancouver 2010, Nagano 1998, and Los Angeles 1984, in cinemas across the city from 8 to 13 August.