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28th Olympic Summer Games: Athens 2004

2004-10-25 14:53 COC

Date: 13 August - 29 August 2004
NOCs: 201
Venues: 38
Athletes: 10,625
Team officials: 5,500
Sports: 28
Events: 301
Media: 21,500 (16,000 broadcasters, including AOB, and 5,500 photo/written press members)
Security personnel: 45,000 (25,000 police, 7,000 military, 3,000 coast guards, 1,500 fire-fighters, 3,500 private security contractors and 5,000 trained volunteers)

In 2004 the Olympic Games returned to Greece, the home of both the ancient Olympics and the first modern Olympics. For the first time ever a record 201 National Olympic Committees (NOCs) participated in the Olympic Games. The overall tally for events on the programme was 301 (one more than in Sydney 2000). Popularity in the Games reached soared to new highs as 3.9 billion people had access to the television coverage compared to 3.6 billion for Sydney 2000. Women's wrestling was included in the program for the first time. Swimmer Michael Phelps won 6 gold medals and set a single-Games record with 8 total medals. Leontien Ziljaard-van Moorsel became the first female cyclist to earn 4 career gold medals and 6 total medals, while canoeist Birgit Fischer became the first athlete in any sport to win two medals in each of 5 Olympics. Runner Hicham El Guerrouj won both the 1,500m and the 5,000m, while on the women's side Kelly Holmes triumphed in both the 800m and the 1,500m. In team play, Argentina won the men's football tournament without giving up a goal, and the U.S. softball team won by outscoring their opponents 51-1.

From August 13 to 29, 2004, a total of 10,625 athletes from 201 countries and regions across the world took part in the 28th Olympic Summer Games in Athens, Greece, the country where these Games were originally born and the city where they revived. 
For the first time the Olympic flame travelled to all continents. Shot Put was held in ancient Olympia and women competed there for the first time. As many as four billion viewers all over the world watched these Games. 
In Athens, 235 Chinese athletes qualified for the finals in 107 events of 23 sports; 83 of them set six world records and 17 Olympic marks and won 32 gold, 17 silver and 14 bronze medals in 55 events of 18 sports, helping China rank second only to the United States (35-39-29) in the final medal standings. 

China maintained its dominance in such sports as diving, shooting, table tennis, badminton and weightlifting. Chinese athletes made impressive progress in fencing and women's cycling, wrestling and archery. Moreover, major breakthroughs were made  in track and field, swimming, rowing and canoeing.

In the pool, 20-year-old world champion Luo Xuejuan proved her prowess once again in the women's 100m breaststroke when she won the event with a convincing time of 1:06.64 at Athens' Olympic Aquatic Centre.

Hurdler Liu Xiang from Shanghai made history in the Greek capital when he struck gold in the men's 110m hurdles final in a world record-equalling time of 12.91secs. His woman compatriot Xing Huina followed suit in the women's 10,000m by beating a number of world ace runners,  including Ethiopia's Ejegayehu Dibaba and double Olympic champion Derartu Tulu, to win the title.

Meng Guanliang and Yang Wenjun demonstrated perfect teamwork in the men's C2 500m canoe, while another Chinese pair Li Ting and Sun Tiantian won China's first gold medal in the women's doubles in tennis.

Special mention should also be made of the Chinese women's volleyball team which, by regaining the Olympic title after 20 years' hard efforts,  was cited as a good example of fighting spirit and high moral.

The remarkable achievements made by the Chinese Olympians in Athens has greatly boosted the confidence of the Chinese sports community and helped laid down a solid foundation for sustainable development and further improvement of the nation's overall strength in competitive sports, particularly in the lead-up to the Beijing Olympic Games in 2008.