The 2008 Summer Olympics, officially known as the Games of the XXIX Olympiad, were a major international multi-sport event that took place in Beijing, China, from August 8 to August 24, 2008. A total of 11,028 athletes from 204 National Olympic Committees (NOCs) competed in 302 events in 28 sports, one event more than was on the schedule of the 2004 Games. Three nations participated in the Olympics for the first time. China became the 22nd nation to host the Olympic Games and the 18th to hold a Summer Olympic Games. It was the third time that the Summer Olympic Games were held in Asia, after Tokyo, Japan in 1964 and Seoul, South Korea in 1988. These Games were the third time that Olympic events have been held in the territories of two different NOCs, as the equestrian events were held in Hong Kong.
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Beijing was awarded the Games over four competitors on July 13, 2001, having won an absolute majority of votes from members of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) after two rounds of voting. The Government of the People's Republic of China promoted the Games and invested heavily in new facilities and transportation systems. A total of 37 venues were used to host the events including 12 constructed for use at the Games. The official logo of these Olympic Games, titled "Dancing Beijing", featured a stylised calligraphic character jīng, referring to the host city. Media outlets reported unprecedented audience interest in the Games, and these Olympics had the largest television audience in Olympic history.
There were 43 new world records and 132 new Olympic records set. An unprecedented 86 countries won at least one medal during the Games. Chinese athletes won the most gold medals, with 51, and 100 medals altogether. Michael Phelps broke the records for most gold medals in one Olympics and for most career gold medals for an Olympian, and equaled the record for most individual golds at a single Games. Usain Bolt secured the traditional title of "World's Fastest Man" by setting new world records in the 100 metres (330 ft) and 200 metres (660 ft) sprints.
The choice of China as a host country was a subject of criticism by some politicians and non-governmental organizations concerned about China's human rights record. China and others, meanwhile, warned against politicizing the Olympics. At the closing ceremony IOC president Jacques Rogge declared the event a "truly exceptional Games" after earlier asserting that the IOC had "absolutely no regrets" in choosing Beijing to host the 2008 Games. The Games were a source of national pride for China and in the short term may have strengthened public support for the Chinese government. They may have also led to some long-term reforms in environmental policy, a result of efforts to reduce air pollution in the Beijing region. However, the long term economic impact of the Games on Beijing and China as a whole is still unclear.