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The most awaiting and prestigious sporting extravaganza—the 29th Beijing Olympics, 2008, began on 8th August at the Bird’s Nest (National Stadium) with 30,000 fireworks at 8.08 pm. The opening ceremony was mesmerizing, from the invocation of muses to traditional beliefs, showcasing China’s march into a new era. There were 90 heads of state and 91,000 fans in the stadium to watch the ceremony. The 16-day mega sporting events concluded on 24th August with the countdown for the London 2012 Games. This Olympics not only showcased China’s sporting excellence, but also demonstrated the capacity to play host for the biggest ever Olympiad in history. For the first time, China topped the table with 51 gold, 21 silver and 28 bronze medals pushing United States (36-38-36) to the second spot. In these Olympics 10,700 athletes from 204 countries (maximum till now) contested for 958 medals (302 gold, 303 silver & 353 bronze) in 302 events (165 male, 127 female, 10 mixed) in 28 sports which were venued in 37 places (31 in Beijing). A number of new records were made while several previous records were buried also. This Olympiad will always be known mainly for Michael Phelps of USA (8 gold in swimming—maximum in one Olympics, breaking the previous record of compatriot Mark Spitz’s seven gold haul) and two World record winnings of Usain Bolt of Jamaica (2 gold in 100 m & 200 m sprint).
India’s Standings: For India too, this Olympics proved lucky and historic as Abhinav Bindra won India’s first individual gold in an Olympics (10m rifle shobting), Sushil Kumar and Vijender Kumar won bronze ir 66-kg Freestyle wrestling and 75-kg boxing respectively. In final meda standings, India stood at 50th position.
RECORDS AT BEIJING OLYMPICS:
- A record 87 countries won medals, 5 were first-time medal winners-Bahrain (1 gold), Tajikistan (1 silver, 1 bronze), Sudan (1 silver) Afghanistan and Togo (1 bronze each).
- 43 world records were broken at Beijing, 10 more than at the 2004 Games.
- Asia won 90 gold, 56 silver and 86 bronze for a total of 232 medals, atsi almost 1 in every 4. S Korea getting its 2nd highest tallies ever 3 medals. India chipped in with a record 3 medals.
- The US may be 2nd behind China, but its haul of 110 medals isitsd highest since St Louis 1904 and Los Angeles 1984, which was boy by the Soviet bloc.
- Russia slipped, but the countries of the former Soviet Union together won 43 gold, 45 silver and 86 bronze-171 medals in all would have put it behind only China.
- Britain climbed from just 15 medals in Atlanta 1996 to 47, including golds, the most since London 1908. In contrast, Germany has g gone steadily downhill from 82 medals in Barcelona 1992 to 41 here.