- 07 Aug 2009
- Olympic News
Truly Exceptional Games!
On the 8 August 2008, the Beijing Games got underway. As IOC President Jacques Rogge described them 16 days later, they were truly exceptional. A record 204 National Olympic Committees (NOC) participated. Athletes from 87 NOCs won medals – the most ever. Some 61,700 hours of Beijing 2008 dedicated coverage was aired globally The Beijing 2008 web site received 105.7 million unique visitors in August 2008 alone. And the general operations of the Games were among the best in recent Games history, giving athletes and spectators the experience of a lifetime. The Games left more than just memories of 16 days of competition. They left a legacy that will last for many years to come.
400 Million Children
The social legacy of the Games can be seen in a number of areas. Over 400 million children in 400,000 Chinese schools learnt about Olympic values as part of an Olympic education campaign before the Games. Thanks to the Games, Beijing has a new disease prevention and control system and a new awareness of the need for accessible building construction. Following up on the excellent work of Games volunteers, Beijing is looking to achieve a 20% public participation rate in volunteering within three to five years.
Urban & Environmental Legacy
Using the Games as a catalyst, Beijing greatly improved its public transport infrastructure and increased capacity for transit riders by 4.5 million people; these improvements have seen a general increase in the use of public transport. Six hundred million yuan was invested to repair cultural sites and relics before the Games, while 140 billion yuan was invested in improving air quality — the results are still being felt today. Many of the Beijing competition venues and other Games facilities will remain in use for years. Six venues were located on university campuses for use by students after the Games. Beijing’s two iconic venues – the Bird’s Nest and the Water Cube – have hosted a number of events since the Games, with more in the pipeline, such as the Italian Super Cup and the Chinese National Swimming Championships.
Fitness for All
8 August is now Fitness for All Day across China, and 716 schools have opened up their sports facilities to the public since the Games, with more being encouraged to do so to increase athletic activity. A number of former staff of the Beijing 2008 Organising Committee have been recruited to work on the 2010 Asian Games, and many Games experienced workforce members are now employed by the State Sport General Administration, giving China the benefit of a highly experienced sports workforce.
As well as serving the Games, the infrastructure improvements in Beijing have made the city more attractive for business and tourism. Domestic tourism is up significantly since Games time, with the Olympic Green becoming a new tourist destination, as millions of people have visited it since the Games concluded.
The Games of the XXIX Olympiad – Beijing 2008 took place from 8 to 24 August 2008. Approximately 10,500 athletes competed in 28 summer sports. Some 28,000 media relayed the story of the Games to their home audiences around the world.
Relive the Beijing Games here.