These Games were notable for the level of air pollution, the spectacular opening ceremony and the stunning architecture of the Olympic venues.
10,942 (4,637 women, 6,305 men) competitors from 204 nations participated in 28 sports and 302 events over a fortnight. USA lost its dominance as the power nations shuffled again – China topped the tally with 51, USA now 2nd with 36, the Russian Federation 3rd with 23, Great Britain 4th with 19, Germany 5th with 16 and Australia now 6th with 14.
There were 43 new world records and 132 new Olympic records set at the 2008 Summer Olympics. An unprecedented 86 countries won at least one medal during the Games. Tajikistan, Afghanistan, Mauritius and Togo all experienced podium finishes for the first time. However Mongolia and Panama managed to go one better with their athletes bringing home their country’s first Olympic gold.
American Michael Phelps broke the record for the most gold medals in one Olympics and for most career gold medals for an Olympian by winning eight swimming events – he has, overall, won 16 Olympic medals — six gold and two bronze at Athens in 2004, and eight gold at Beijing in 2008. He is second only to the 18 Soviet gymnast Larisa Latynina won over three Olympics, including nine gold. Phelps also holds the all-time record for most gold Olympic medals, at 14. With his ninth participation in the Games and at the age of 61, Canada’s Ian Millar won his first medal in the team jumping event. Jamaican sprinter Usain Bolt broke both the 100m and 200m world records and claimed a third gold and record with the Jamaican 4 x 100m relay team.
New events: 10km swimming marathon and BMX.
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