Date: 8 August - 24 August 2008
Volunteer: 100,000 venue volunteers, 400,000 city volunteers
The Beijing 2008 Olympic torch relay, with the participation of more than 21,800 torchbearers, lasting 130 days, passing through 19 cities in 19 countries and regions and 106 cities in China's 31 provinces, municipalities and autonomous regions and covering a distance of 150,000 kilometers, is remembered as the farthest reaching relay involving the largest number of participants in the history of the modern Olympic Movement.
For the Beijing Games, the Chinese delegation has an average age of 24.4 and is composed of 639 athletes participating in 28 sports, 38 disciplines and 262 events. Among all the athletes of the Chinese delegation, veteran athletes have achieved new glory in their careers, while newer athletes are becoming the main force of Chinese sports. Among all the participants, two-thirds of the athletes took part in the Games for the first time.
Sharpshooter Tan Zongliang, 37, is one of the three Chinese athletes making their fourth Olympic trip. The other two are basketballer Li Nan and Guo Jingjing, two time Olympic champion on women's springboard.
The delegation included 38 foreign coaches including men's basketball manager Jonas Kazlauskas of Lithuania.
Chinese President Hu Jintao declared open the 29th summer Olympic Games of Beijing in the National Stadium in north Beijing on August 8 night.
The exciting announcement came after a nearly-one-hour art performance highlighting China's 5,000-year civilization and modern achievements, and a 2.5-hour march-in of more than 10,000 athletes from 204 countries and regions.
During the two-week competitions, the Chinese delegation displayed impressive skills in athletic technique. By scoring the best ever result at the Games with 51 gold, 21 silver and 28 bronze medals, China achieved a major historic breakthrough and made significant contributions to the hosting of a high-standard and unique Olympic Games in Beijing.
In events traditionally strong for the Chinese, such as Weightlifting, Gymnastics, Diving, Table Tennis, Badminton, Shooting and Judo, athletes took 39 golds, 80% of the gold medals China earned in all. Moreover, Chinese representatives have made historical breakthroughs in Archery, Rowing, Trampoline, Fencing, Sailing and Women's Gymnastics.
"We are very happy to display our dominance in weightlifting," said Ma Wenguang, team leader of Chinese weightlifting.
At the same time, Chinese gymnasts rebounded from a disappointing one-gold performance in Athens to reap nine titles in Beijing.
"We never gave up despite the setbacks at the Athens Games," said Huang Yubin, head coach of the Chinese gymnastics team. "We worked really hard in the past four years and I am so happy that we were able to come back with more victories on home soil."
Moreover, Chinese athletes have tasted maiden golds in sailing, archery, trampoline and rowing, which helped realize their remarkable increase on gold tally.
"It's a dream come true, we have waited for this gold medal for so long," said Yin Jian, who was crowned in the women's sailing RS:X category.
However, Liu Xiang, the defending 110 meter hurdles champion and China's only title hope in track and field at the Beijing Games, dramatically pulled out from the qualifying heats with an Achilles heel injury.
"He wanted to run so much, he did not want to disappoint the fans who rushed to the Bird's Nest to watch him race. But he just could not hold on, it really hurts," said Liu Xiang's coach Sun Haiping, who broke into tears at the press conference following the star hurdler's surprising withdrawal.
The Chinese women's volleyball team, who took home the only gold of China in team sports from the Athens Games, also missed out on the opportunity to repeat the glory before settling for the bronze medal.
"We were really under pressure," said Chen Zhonghe, head coach of the Chinese women's volleyball team. "We were playing at home and the Chinese delegation has won so many golds this time. We knew that the delegation needed a gold in team sports desperately, but it's really difficult."
The Chinese athletes have displayed good spirit by not overly expressing elation when victorious or depression when defeated. Among others, shooter Du Li embodied this spirit thoroughly. Although Du failed in the 10m Air Rifle, she made necessary adjustments, relying on her will power and determination to walk out from under the shadow of defeat to finally win a gold medal in her second event.
The China's delegation has adhered to the stringent policy of anti-doping and followed IOC rules for doping control to achieve participation free of any single positive case of drug use.
(Sources: Xinhuanet and BOCOG)